Aleutian Tern

Scientific Name: Onychoprion aleuticus

Malay Name: Camar Batu Kelabu

Chinese Name: 白腰燕鸥

Range: Found from Siberia to Alaska, wintering to Southern China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malay Peninsula, Singapore and Indonesia.

Taxonomy: Monotypic.

Size: 32-34 cm

Identification: A medium-size tern with greyish upperparts, white rump and long deeply, forked tail, discontinuous dark band on under trailing edge and all black pointed bill. When in breeding plumage, white forehead contrasts with black eyestripe, hindcrown and nape. Crown of non-breeding bird mostly white with blackish ear-coverts and nape. Juvenile resembles non-breeding adult but has dark brown subterminal markings on upperparts.

Similar looking species: Common Tern

Habitat: Open seas.

Behaviour/Ecology: Feeds by plunge-diving. Often perches on floating objects and debris.

Local Status: Uncommon migrant

Conservation Status: Vulnerable (BirdLife International 2020)

Location: Singapore Strait

Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):

Aleutian Tern Onychoprion aleuticus
Estimated average number of individuals by week based on eBird data, Jul 2013 to Jun 2023
Peak week Sep 17-Sep 23
Early date 20 Aug 2011
Late date 15 May 2011
A pelagic trip in Sep or Oct will be your best bet to see this species, which passes through Singapore during these months.


BirdLife International. (2020). Onychoprion aleuticus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020. Accessed on 1 January 2023

Jeyarajasingam, A., & Pearson, A. (2012). A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Oxford University Press.

Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

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