About the Sandwich tern

The Sandwich tern is a medium sized sea-fish feeding species which has a global reach. The bird’s name comes from Sandwich Bay in Kent. Most of the colonies of Sandwich tern that can be found in the UK continue to survive because they live in nature reserves.

The birds visit the UK in the summer. The vast majority of them leave our shores in the autumn for the warmer climes of west Africa. The birds have been known to live for more than 20 years and some have been recorded as covering distances during migration of almost 2,500 miles.

Sandwich terns are mild-mannered and do not tend to display aggressive behaviour towards their predators; rather, they tend to survive due to their large colonies. They also tend to be monogamous during the mating season and the males can be seen offering fish to the females as part of their courting display.

While these birds can still be spotted regularly in the local area, there is no longer any nesting activity of Sandwich terns around Loch Ryan or, indeed, across the west of Scotland. Ornithologists see this as a blow to broad biodiversity, both regionally and UK-wide.