Bill slender; red throughout its whole length: legs red: tarsus seven lines: tail very much forked; longer than the wings.
S. arctica, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. ii. p. 742. Arctic Tern, Shaw, Gen. Zool. vol. xiii. p. 152. Selb. Illust. vol. ii. p. 473. pl. 90. f.2.
Entire length fifteen inches: length of the bill (from the forehead) one inch four lines, (from the gape) one inch ten lines; of the tarsus seven lines; of the tail seven inches nine lines; from the carpus to the end of the wing eleven inches.
Very similar to the last species, but may always be distinguished by the much shorter tarsus, and the bill which is also shorter and generally of one colour throughout. (Summer plumage). Forehead, crown, and long occipital feathers, deep black; rest of the upper parts bluish ash: throat, front of the neck, breast and belly, of the same colour as the back; vent, under tail-coverts, and a band beneath the eyes, pure white: tail very much forked; always longer than in the last species, extending (in the adult male) one inch two lines beyond the wings: tarsi and toes very short; of a deep crimson-red: bill crimson-red. (Egg). Colour the same as in the last species: long. diam. one inch seven lines; trans, diam. one inch one line.
Inhabits the Arctic Regions; resorting to the northern coasts of Britain during the summer months. According to Selby, very abundant in the Fern Islands, where they arrive about the middle of May and stay till August. Eggs laid on the gravelly beach or bare ground; three or four in number. Food, small fish, particularly the fry of the sand-eel (Ammodytes Tobianus).