Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
The wings and deeply forked tail are long, and it has dark grey upperparts and white underparts. It has black legs and bill. Juvenile Sooty Terns are scaly grey above and below. The Sooty Tern is unlikely to be confused with any tern apart from the similarly dark-backed but smaller Bridled Tern (O. anaethetus). It is darker-backed than that species, and has a broader white forehead and no pale neck collar. Bill and legs black, iris dark brown. Non-breeding adult has variable white feather with fringes above. The call is a loud piercing ker-wack-a-wack or kvaark.