• East view from Crissy Field overlook with old Coast Guard station on left and city on right

    Presidio of San Francisco


Elegant Tern

(Sterna elegans)
Elegant terns
Elegant terns gather on Crissy Field during their migration south for the winter.
Will Elder, NPS

Natural History: The Elegant Tern's diet primarily consists of small fish, which it dives for from above the water after hovering. It will occasionally scavenge for food. It is found near saltwater areas, where it hunts. This bird nests in shallow depressions in sandy substrate, typically within 60 feet of water.

General Distribution: In the Presidio, this species is found along the coast, particularly off Crissy Field.

Frequency: This bird is common in the summer and fall.

Identifying Characteristics: This moderate-size tern has a long, orange beak, a short black crest.

Presidio Birds main page

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