1. [syn: sea swallow, Sterna hirundo]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Tern \Tern\ (t[~e]rn), n. [Dan. terne, t[ae]rne; akin to Sw.
t[aum]rna, Icel. [thorn]erna; cf. NL. sterna.] (Zool.)
Any one of numerous species of long-winged aquatic birds,
allied to the gulls, and belonging to Sterna and various
Note: Terns differ from gulls chiefly in their graceful form,
in their weaker and more slender bills and feet, and
their longer and more pointed wings. The tail is
usually forked. Most of the species are white with the
back and wings pale gray, and often with a dark head.
The common European tern (Sterna hirundo) is found
also in Asia and America. Among other American species
are the arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea), the roseate
tern (Sterna Dougalli), the least tern (Sterna
Antillarum), the royal tern (Sterna maxima), and the
sooty tern (Sterna fuliginosa).
Hooded tern. See Fairy bird, under Fairy.
Marsh tern, any tern of the genus Hydrochelidon. They
frequent marshes and rivers and feed largely upon insects.
River tern, any tern belonging to Seena or allied genera
which frequent rivers.
Sea tern, any tern of the genus Thalasseus. Terns of this
genus have very long, pointed wings, and chiefly frequent
seas and the mouths of large rivers.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: common tern of Eurasia and America having white black and
grey plumage [syn: sea swallow, Sterna hirundo]