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Odd-looking Tern


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I assume this is a Common Tern but the black cap doesn't appear to extend down the nape as expected. Is this due to the posture or is this a different species; e.g. Forster's?

Photographed yesterday at Nickerson Beach (Lido Beach) NY.

tern-35.jpg

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I have limited experience with adult, breeding plumage Common Terns, but to me this is a Common Tern. The black cap appearing shorter than normal is probably a combination of feather wear and posture. The features that point to Common Tern for me are the dark primary feathers and the short legs, though the latter is a bit subjective and the difference between Common and Forster's is very subtle (as compared to Arctic vs the other two). The bill is rather orange, but I suspect that is due to the overexposure of the photo. The legs look red to me, but again tough to tell for sure. 

2 hours ago, HamRHead said:

Hmm... it's showing for me, at least on my phone.

I am no expert here but would lean Forsters--Tail longer than wings and no sign of a dark carpal bar.

The tail on terns is only really long early in the breeding season, usually in April and May. By late June and later, it's usually worn or broken off. So that's not really a helpful mark this late. Also, the dark carpal bar is only on immature and basic (non-breeding) plumaged Common Terns so that can't be used either. 

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