Bill long; black, the tip yellowish: legs short; black: tarsus one inch: tail long, very much forked, shorter than the wings.
S. Cantiaca, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. ii. p. 735. Sandwich Tern, Mont. Orn. Diet, & Supp. with fig. Bew. Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 189. Selb. Illust. vol. ii. p. 464. pl. 88. f. 3.
Entire length eighteen inches: length of the bill two inches: breadth, wings extended, two feet nine inches. Mont.
(Summer plumage). Forehead crown, and long occipital feathers, deep black; nape and upper part of the back pure white; middle and lower regions of the back, scapulars and wing-coverts, pale bluish ash: all the under parts pure white, tinged on the breast and fore part of the neck, with rose-red: quills deep ash-gray, having a velvety appearance, bordered on their inner webs with a broad band of pure white; some of the primaries tipped with black: tail white; considerably forked: bill black for two-thirds of its length from the base, the tip straw-yellow: legs black; the under surface of the toes and membranes yellow: claws black. (Winter plumage). Forehead and crown white, spotted with black towards the occiput; the long occipital feathers deep black, but fringed with white: under parts pure white, without the rosy tinge on the neck and breast: the rest as in winter. (Young of the year). Crown and occiput a mixture of black, white, and pale reddish brown: all the under parts pure white: upper part of the back and scapulars reddish, with transverse bars of dusky brown; some of the larger scapulars broadly bordered with brown; tips of the wing-coverts with a crescent-shaped edging of this colour: primary and secondary quills dusky ash, edged and tipped with white: tail ash-coloured at the base; the remaining portion dusky, with the tips of the feathers white: bill livid black; the extreme tip yellowish. (Egg). Yellowish stone-colour; thickly spotted with ash-gray, orange-brown, and deep red-brown: long. diam. two inches; trans, diam. one inch five lines.
A summer visitant. Frequents the coasts of Kent, Sussex, and Suffolk. Occasionally met with in other parts of the country, but not a generally diffused species. Breeds in large societies. Eggs two or three, laid on sandy shores or on rocks. Feeds on fish.