Aleutian Tern of Alaska

C: Birds } O: Charadriiformes } F: Tern } G: Brown-backed Tern } S: Aleutian Tern

Common Name: Aleutian Tern
Latin: Onychoprion aleuticus
Yup'ik: civtulgaq

Viewing Scale

Chances of seeing Aleutian Tern in Alaska


Aleutian Tern (Onychoprion aleuticus) are a small sea bird mostly gray in color with a black-capped head and black strap that extends from their cap across their eyes to the rear of their black beaks. They have long pointed dark gray tails, which extend out from a white rump and black legs.


Aleutian Terns nest on the ground laying 2-3 eggs. Conflicts of land with livestock grazing on Kodiak Island sometimes turn problematic for the terns.

Diet & Habitat

The terns plunge and dive for fish.

The Aleutian Tern can be found on Kodiak Island and Afognak Island where populations are declining.

Aleutian Terns winter in the South Pacific around Indonesia and Malaysia.