Birds Image Stock | Arctic tern

The Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea) is a small seabird that makes the longest migration of any bird – its travel from its Arctic breeding grounds to its wintering grounds off of Antarctica may cover 40,000 km (25,000 mi) – roughly the circumference of the Earth. It breeds in the Arctic tundra (within the Arctic Circle), but flies to the edge of the Antarctic ice pack during the winter. With its long tail streamers and general shape the Arctic tern deserves the local name of 'sea swallow'. Males and females are similar. The Arctic tern has webbed feet, the tail is long and forked, the legs are short and red, and the head is rounded and white with a black cap. They are largely coastal although they can be seen inland on migration. Most Arctic Terns return to the area where they were hatched, often to the same colony. They can live to be at least 34 years old. It usually does not begin to breed until it is three or four years old.
Arctic ternArctic tern