The Arctic tern is a small bird, about 12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 centimeters) in length and weighing about 3.5 ounces (100 grams), but it makes the longest migration of any bird in the world. It travels about 44,100 miles (71,000 kilometers) annually — almost twice the circumference of the earth! — in its S-shaped migrations from Greenland to Antarctica and back. Over its average 34-year lifespan, it travels a total distance equivalent to three round-trips to the moon!
Males and females mate for life, and both the parents take part in raising their young. They are fiercely defensive of their chicks. Both parents take turns incubating the eggs and, after these hatch, they both bring food for the young until they are of age.
These birds are mostly carnivorous. They swoop down into the water and snatch their prey, mostly feeding on small fish and marine crustaceans.
Arctic Terns are featured in the following book:
25 Polar Animals
The YouTube video playlist below contains videos about Arctic Terns. Details of the videos featured are underneath.
- That Incredible Little Arctic Tern by Bob Fairbanks
- Vision in the Sky – Arctic Tern, Farne Islands by Griffstar77
- Taking a look at terns 1: Common vs Arctic Tern by BTOvideo
- Arctic Tern ~ Bird Call ~ Bird Song by LearnFree2007
- Arctic Terns Protecting their young by Phil Lilley