Arctic Tern Facts
- Most notably, the lovely Arctic Tern holds a unique distinction within the animal kingdom. That’s because this seabird ranks as the most highly migratory of any known species. In fact, it spends the majority of its life in the air.
- Further, its migration patterns show a high degree of convolution, generating enormous distances traveled. As individuals relocate south for the summer, some actually experience two of them each year.
- In addition, the average distance covered per year approaches 44,100 m (70,900 km). It spends so much time in the air that most rarely appear on land, other than during the mating season.
- Finally, the IUCN considers the Arctic Tern a species of Least Concern. Estimates place the global population of this bird at more than 1 million individuals.
Arctic Tern Physical Description
The impressive Arctic Tern is a medium-sized seabird and has a body length averaging nearly 15 in (39 cm). A typical wingspan for this remarkable species measures roughly 30 in (75 cm).
In addition, the plumage of adults typically shows a combination of white and gray. The upper wing is gray with a white edge, and a dark black crown shows on the top of the head, as well. Also, both feet and beak generally display a reddish orange in color, and webbed in form.
Further, the tail remains deeply forked in design. Uniquely, and interestingly, juveniles present a different coloring of the feet and bill. Among the juveniles, these typically present black in color.
Also of note is the fact that the species displays no noticeable degree of sexual dimorphism.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Charadriiformes
- Family: Laridae
- Genus: Sterna
- Species: S. paradisaea
Arctic Tern Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Fascinatingly, due to its migratory patterns, the Arctic Tern literally inhabits the entire world. However, its nesting range consists of the extensive coastal regions of Eurasia and North America.
Mating and nesting take place in a colony setting. Individuals also commonly construct nests in rugged and remote areas. But this has benefits for protecting the young. Both genders care for the young and protect the nest, often fiercely.
Furthermore, the avian has a carnivorous nature. Due to this, its primary prey consists of a variety of small fish and crustaceans. However, its own natural predators include felines and other indigenous animals.
Additionally, this species also has a lifespan of as much as 30 years.