Caspian Tern

Hydroprogne caspia (Pallas, 1770) CJ CASTE 6060
Family: Charadriiformes > Laridae

Caspian Tern, Philip Croft

Distinctive, with a huge red bill and shaggy black crest, this is the largest of the terns; it is a regular but scarce visitor, mostly occurring during the summer months.

Select a topic for more facts and statistics about the Caspian Tern

  • Breeding
  • Winter
1.4k records observations recorded by BTO surveyors
1.4k records



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Status and Trends

Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.


This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.


We have no population estimates for this scarce species.


This species is a rare vagrant and was recorded during Bird Atlas 2007–11 as shown on the map.

Caspian Tern breeding distribution 2008-11
Britain and Ireland Breeding Distribution 2008-2011.
More from the Atlas Mapstore.

Occupied 10-km squares in UK

European Distribution Map

European Breeding Bird Atlas 2


Caspian Terns are scarce migrants, with a handful of nomadic individuals recorded most summers.

Weekly occurence of Caspian Tern from BirdTrack
Weekly occurrence patterns (shaded cells) and reporting rates (vertical bars) based on BirdTrack data. Reporting rates give the likelihood of encountering the species each week.


Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.


View a summary of recoveries in the Online Ringing Report.

Foreign locations of birds ringed or recovered in Britain & Ireland

Foreign locations of Caspian Tern ringed or recovered in Britain & Ireland
Encountered in: Winter (Nov-Feb); Spring (Mar-Apr); Summer (May-Jul); Autumn (Aug-Oct)


Lifecycle and body size information about Caspian Tern, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.


Sample sizes are too small to report Productivity and Nesting statistics for this species.


Sample sizes are too small to report Biometrics for this species.

Feather measurements and photos on featherbase


For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name

Welsh: Môr-wennol Gawraidd
Catalan: xatrac gros
Czech: rybák velkozobý
Danish: Rovterne
Dutch: Reuzenstern
Estonian: räusktiir e. räusk
Finnish: räyskä
French: Sterne caspienne
German: Raubseeschwalbe
Hungarian: lócsér
Icelandic: Ránþerna
Irish: Geabhróg Chaispeach
Italian: Sterna maggiore
Latvian: lielais zirinš
Lithuanian: plešrioji žuvedra
Norwegian: Rovterne
Polish: rybitwa wielkodzioba
Portuguese: garajau-grande
Slovak: cegrava velkozobá
Slovenian: kaspijska cigra
Spanish: Pagaza piquirroja
Swedish: skräntärna

Links to more information from

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