Sandwich tern

Sterna sandvicensis

What do they look like?

Sandwich terns are mostly white, with a white grey colour across their back and upper wing and black legs. Although similar in shape, sandwich terns are easily distinguishable from other terns because of their black bill (with yellow tip), larger size and shaggy crest.

When can I see them in Scotland?

March - October

Where can I see them in Scotland?

The sandwich tern is a summer visitor to Scotland, nesting in colonies on sandy and shingle beaches. There are breeding colonies scattered around the Scottish coast, including along the North and Aberdeenshire coast.

Conservation Status:

In the UK, bird species with breeding, passage or wintering populations are assessed by experts and assigned to the Red, Amber or Green lists of conservation concern. Sandwich terns are currently an ‘Amber’ listed species.

21-29 days
28-30 days
12 years
Average lifespan

Several sandwich terns resting on the sand
©Lorne Gill