Gull-billed Tern

Conservation status

Least Concern

Population Trend


Alternate Names

Common Gull-billed Tern

Native Habitat

River, Lake


Insects, Amphibians, Small birds and chicks, Eggs of other Terns


Gull-billed Tern

Gelochelidon nilotica

The Gull-billed Tern is a fairly large and powerful tern, similar in size and general appearance to a Sandwich Tern, but the short thick gull-like bill, broad wings, long legs and robust body are distinctive. The summer adult has grey upper parts, white underparts, a black cap, strong black bill and black legs.

In winter, the cap is lost, and there is a dark patch through the eye like a Forster's Tern or a Mediterranean Gull. Juvenile Gull-billed Terns have a fainter mask, but otherwise look much like winter adults.

Regional Names
  • Bengali:
    কালোঠোঁট পানচিল
  • French:
    Sterne hansel
  • Gujarati:
    ધોળી વાબગલી
  • Malayalam:
    പാത്തക്കൊക്കൻ ആള
  • Marathi:
    कुरव चोचीचा सुरय, हिवाळी सुरय
  • Nepali:
    गंगाचीलठुँडे फ्यालफ्याले
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Gelochelidon nilotica