common tern


  • Local time
  • Location: Bay of Santander, Cantabria, Spain
  • Source: SEOBirdLife
  • Info: Live streaming webcam with common terns in Cantabria in northern Spain. The common terns shown are at a nest site in the Ornithological Reserve of the Astillero Marshes in the Bay of Santander. This is the only colony of common terns in the entire Cantabrian Sea and is on one of the floating platforms installed by SEOBirdLife as a conservation measure.

More info: The common tern is a medium-sized tern, characterised by their silver-grey upperparts, white underparts, black cap and red bill, as well as long tails that have given them the nickname of 'sea-swallow'.

Common terns breed on sand spits, beaches and low-lying inshore islands. They also nest inland near slow-flowing rivers, and lakes in open country. They favour areas near shallow waters where they can fish and can be seen characteristically hovering over water before diving to catch their prey.

Common terns lay, on average, three eggs in May with incubation lasting around 22 days. The chicks have normally fledged by 28 days after hatching.

After the breeding season, the terns migrate south to spend their winter along the coasts of the tropics and the southern hemisphere. They have one of the longest migrations of all birds, with an average round trip of 35,000km each year.