Caspian Tern

This species is defined as a Review Species . Please submit your records of this species via our record submission page .

Scientific Name: Hydroprogne caspia

Malay Name: Camar Raya

Chinese Name: 红嘴巨燕鸥

Range: Found from northern Africa to Europe, temperate Asia, Australasia and North America with northern populations wintering along the coasts of Africa, southern Europe, Middle East, Indian subcontinent, southern China, Southeast Asia, West Indies and northern South America.

Taxonomy: Monotypic.

Size: 48-55 cm

Identification: The largest of the tern species. Non-breeding adult has diagnostic thick red bill, mostly black crown, nape and mask with whiter, dark-mottled forecrown and black subterminal marking on bill-tip. Breeding adult has all black forehead to nape and mask. First winter bird resembles non-breeding adult but has darker secondaries, primary upperwing-coverts and tail.

Habitat: Coastal pools, mudflats and sandflats.

Behaviour/Ecology: Forages by hovering over shallow waters and plunge-dives when a fish is spotted.

Local Status: Vagrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2019)

Past records in our database:

Showing only accepted records. Records currently under review are also not displayed. For a full list, click here.

Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):


BirdLife International. (2019). Hydroprogne caspia. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019. Accessed on 1 January 2023

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