Forster's Tern

Forster's Tern
Bird on the left is a winter plumage Forester's Tern while the one on the right is a Common Tern. The two are often confused.
-Sterna Forsteri-

The Forster's Tern is present in Texas year-round and a common colonial nester.

Breeding adult is snow white below and pale gray above with a black cap and nape. Orange bill with black at the tip and orange legs and feet. Long, deeply forked gray tail. In winter plumage (shown in photo) it has a white head with black ear-coverts and bill and legs are blackish. Longer legged than similar Common Tern and lacks the black carpal bar conspicuous on the Common Tern. Plunge-dives for fish and captures insects in flight.

Length: 14.5 inches
Width: 36 inches