Range. - Found in North America along the Gulf Coast and on the Atlantic Coast north to Virginia and casually farther.
This is one of the largest of the Terns, is 14 inches long, has a short, thick, black bill and a short slightly forked tail; the crown is black, mantle pearly gray, white below. This species is very widely distributed, being found in Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa. They are known locally as "Marsh Terns" where they breed in immense numbers on some of the marshes about the Gulf, particularly in Texas. They also breed on many of the islands along the Coast, rarely making any nest, but laying the eggs in a hollow in the sand. They nest most abundantly in the latter part of May, generally laying three eggs. They are of a yellowish, grayish or greenish buff color and are spotted with brown and lilac. Size 1.80 x 1.30. Data. - Northampton Co., Va., May 28, 1882. Three eggs laid on a mass of seaweed on marsh above tide water.
Pale greenish buff.