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White-winged Black Tern

(Chlidonias leucopterus)
Alternate name(s): "White-winged Tern", "White-tailed Tern"
German name(s): "Weißflügelseeschwalbe"

Size: 22-24 cm; wing span ca. 65 cm (average)
Weight: 63 g (average)
Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See White-winged Black Tern at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range


Click here for sighting information



Sex unknown


Lateral view of a White-winged Black Tern in breeding plumage in flight; note the characteristic white rump (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Biebrza NP, Poland, May 2017]

White-winged Black Terns in breeding plumage in flight above a marsh (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Biebrza NP, Poland, May 2017]


Two White-winged Black Terns in non-breeding plumage, right, with for comparison two Black Terns, left, and a Black-headed Gull, front, all in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[November 2017]

Lateral view of a White-winged Black Tern in non-breeding plumage in flight (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[November 2017]

More photos in non-breeding plumage were obtained in Australia.


For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

wwbtern_20220116.m4a (NW NSW) Contact calls? (+ Pied Stilt) © MD

More White-winged Black Tern sound recordings are available at .

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

Would you like to contribute photos or sound recordings to this site?
If interested, please CLICK HERE. Credits to contributors are given HERE.