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Medium-sized tern. Long, thin black bill with pale yellow tip. Body white. Back pale gray. Elongated feathers on back of head make a slight shaggy crest. Black cap when breeding. Pale forehead in winter. Legs black.
Seacoasts, bays, estuaries, and mudflats, occasionally ocean far from land.
•The two subspecies of Sandwich Tern breeding in North America and Eurasia have black bills with yellow tips. A third subspecies known at the "Cayenne Tern" is found in the southern Caribbean and the Atlantic Coast of South America. It has an all yellow bill.