Long, black-tipped bill At first glance, this bird has many similarities with Bird 2, and would easily be lumped by old school birdwatchers into the ‘Commic’ tern category. But there are features aplenty to identify it to species level. Firstly the bill is quite long and orange red with a black tip and the neck, even in this photo, looks longer than that of Bird 2. The wings are where most of the clues are, though. Note how the inner wing feathers (secondaries) former a narrow darker band. And note how the outer primary feathers instead of being pale and ‘translucent’ have a dark, smudgy wedge. The moderate tail streamers combined with these features should be enough for you to conclude that this is a Common Tern.
KEY FEATURES ’Commic’ tern pattern of grey wings, black cap and red bill Tail streamers of moderate length Long bill is red with a black tip Dark ‘wedge’ in the outer primaries