Bill short and thick; entirely black: legs long; black: claws nearly straight: tarsus one inch three or four lines: tail not much forked, considerably shorter than the wings.
S. Anglica, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. ii. p. 744. Gull-billed Tern, Mont. Orn. Diet. Supp. with fig. Selb. Illust. vol. ii. p. 480. pl. 88. f. 1.
Entire length thirteen inches six lines: length of the bill (from the forehead) one inch six lines, (from the gape) one inch ten lines and a half; of the tarsus one inch two lines and a half to four lines and a half*.
(Summer plumage). Forehead, crown, occiput and nape, deep black; the feathers on this last part long and silky: all the rest of the upper plumage pale bluish ash: quills dusky gray, having a hoary appearance; the tips of the first five black: under parts white: wings extending three inches beyond the extremity of the tail: bill deep black; remarkably thick and strong; gonys of the lower mandible ascending; mental angle very prominent, as in the genus Larus: irides brown: legs long; black, with a reddish tinge: toes long; the claws unusually straight; membranes deeply emarginated. (Winterplumage). Forehead and crown white; anterior angle of the eye, and spot behind the ears, grayish black: the rest as in summer, with the exception of the primary quills, which are not quite so deeply coloured at the tips. (Young of the year). "Crown white, with small longitudinal brownish streaks: back and wings bluish ash, mixed with gray and yellowish brown: all the under parts pure white: quills brownish ash: tail very little forked, ash-colour, the tips of the feathers white: base of the bill yellowish; the rest, towards the tip, dusky brown: legs brown." Temm. (Egg). Dark olive-brown, spotted with ash-colour and two shades of dark red-brown: long, diam. one inch eleven lines; trans, diam. one inch four lines.
* A difference of two lines was found in the length of the tarsus in two British-killed specimens in the British Museum.
A rare species in this country, first described by Montagu, who obtained specimens from the coast of Sussex. According to Temminck, very abundant in Hungary. Said to breed on the marshy borders of salt-water lakes, and to lay three or four eggs. Food, winged insects.
(2. Anous, Steph).