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I've seen many Common, Forster's, and Roseate Terns but this one at Jones Beach NY this morning caught my eye due to the combination of orangish bill and solid black cap. Is it just an immature Common Tern?

tern.jpg

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Very few immature Common Terns have full black crowns. This is an adult, though possibly an adult that bred late, thus has not initiated its prebasic molt. The distinct contrast of coloration between the outer primaries (very dark) and inner primaries (notably paler) and with no newly-replaced primaries leaves only Common Tern as an ID.

 

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Thanks,

As I mentioned, I was confused by the bill color. Cornell's Birds of the World has a detailed description and I should have read it more carefully. It says,

"Black coloration [of the bill] begins to develop again in August, and by mid-September the bill may either be largely black or still largely red."  

Although I have seen many COTEs, I guess I haven't seen one in that stage of transition. I have to admit, though, that COTEs have fooled me before,

 

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