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A close relative of the Bridled and Sooty Terns (with which it is sometimes confused), the Grey-backed Tern is less common than the other members of its genus and is has been studied less. The three species, along with the Aleutian Tern were recently split into a new genus Onychoprion from Sterna (Bridge et al., 2005). They resemble the Sooty Tern but with a grey back instead of a black one. Their breast and underparts are white, and the have a black eye line from the bill to the back of the head which gives them their other name, the Spectacled Tern.