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

    Presidio of San Francisco


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Forster's Tern

(Sterna forsteri)
Forster,s terns
Forster's Terns at the old Coast Guard pier near Crissy Field.
Will Elder, NPS

Natural History: The Forster's Tern eats small fish, insects, aquatic invertebrates and frogs. This bird nests near water on the ground in depressions lined with grass, soil or shells. It frequents freshwater and saltwater marshes as well as ponds and lakes.

General Distribution: In the Presidio, this species is found along the coast, particularly off Crissy Field where it displays breeding behavior in the spring.

Frequency: This bird is common throughout the year at the Presidio.

Identifying Characteristics: This moderately-small tern has a orange beak tipped in black. It has a black cap and nape.

Presidio Birds main page

Did You Know?

U.S. Army major rank insignia

In 1915, a tragic fire at the Presidio claimed the lives of General Pershing’s wife and his three daughters. Pershing's son, Francis Warren, survived the blaze and chose to enlist in the army as a private during World War II. By the end of the war he had achieved the rank of major.