(1. Sterna, Steph).
Bill thick and strong, bright red: tarsus one inch six lines in length: tail short, forked.
S. Caspia, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. ii. p. 733. Caspian Tern, Lath. Syn. vol. iii. p. 350. Selb. Illust. vol. ii. p. 463.
Entire length twenty-one inches: length of the bill (from the forehead) two inches nine lines, (from the gape) three inches two lines; of the tarsus one inch six lines; of the tail six inches; from the carpus to the end of the wing sixteen inches six lines.
(Summer plumage). Forehead, crown, and long occipital feathers, deep black: nape, back, scapulars and wing-coverts, bluish ash: quills brown, tinged with ash-gray: sides of the head, fore part of the neck, and all the under parts of the plumage, pure white: tail pale ash-gray: bill coral-red: legs black. Wings reaching about four inches and a half beyond the tail. (Winter plumage). Forehead, and a part of the crown, pure white; occiput variegated with black and white: the rest as in summer. (Young of the year). " Forehead and crown as in the adult in winter plumage; rest of the upper parts ash-coloured brown, with large dusky spots and transverse bars: tail with a large dusky space at the extremity: quills almost entirely of the same colour: under parts white: bill dull red; the tip dusky." Temm. (Egg). Yellowish stone-colour, spotted with ash-gray and dark red-brown; long. diam. two inches six lines; trans, diam. one inch eight lines.
Inhabits the borders of the Baltic, the Caspian Sea, and Archipelago. Is also occasionally seen on the coasts of France and Holland. In England, a few specimens have occurred at Yarmouth and Aldborough. One killed at this last place is in the Museum of the Cambridge Philosophical Society. Feeds on fish. Eggs two or three in number; deposited in a hole in the sand, or on the rocks by the edge of the sea.