A medium sized tern that displays grey wings, a white body and a shaggy black crest. The Sandwich Tern is not an aggressive species and prefers to nest near other bird species that will protect their eggs.


Extant populations exist between North and South America to the west of Asia. The sandwich tern is a summer visitor to the UK patchily distributed in Ireland, Northern Wales and the eastern coast of Britain.


A coastal bird their diet consists of a wide range of fish, however the majority of their diet comes from sand eels, sprat and whiting.

Predators & Threats

Predators include; large gulls, crows, foxes, short eared owls and stoats. Predation is primarily focused upon the eggs however a few mature individuals can be targeted.


  • There are approximately 12,000 breeding pairs visiting the UK annually.
  • A group of terns can be called a “U” or a “ternery”
Common Name(s)Scientific Name
Sandwich TernSterna sandvicensis
 40 cm.
 10 – 12 years.

Best Time to Look

April – September

Where to find Sandwich Tern