The Caspian Tern is the world's largest tern. With a wingspan of between 47" to 53" they dwarf many gull species. Similar in appearance to the Royal Tern, their robust size, slightly notched tail and large, bright red bill makes separating the two fairly straightforward. Their preferred breeding habitat is large lakes and ocean coasts in North America, Europe (mainly around the Baltic Sea and Black Sea), Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Found on every continent except Antarctica they winter widely throughout the tropics. Despite declining numbers in Europe and regional extinction in Denmark the IUCN Red List's conservation status for this species is "Least Concern". They are rarely observed around Brooklyn, New York, but this week a pair have been observed feeding at Prospect Lake in historic Prospect Park.
The scientific name, Hydroprogne caspia, means water swallow of the Caspian Sea.