Large seabird (approx 43 cm or 17 in). Long, narrow wings with a black border. Short, forked tail. Upperparts of uniform grey colour, including rump and tail. Black crown, ending on a crest in adults. White forehead. Pure white underparts. Short, black legs. Orange bill, long and thin.
Tropical species. This tern breeds on the Libyan coast and reaches the Alboran Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar during its migrations. The breeding is on sandy or coral quiet beaches and islands, and in winter it also uses coasts, estuaries and river mouths.
A strictly coastal bird, present in the province only during its migratory passages and considered a rarity in Malaga. It breeds between May and June. Nest on the ground. Colonial. Laying of a single egg. Ichthyophatic feeding.
Rare and little frequent species in Malaga. Its presence in the province is limited to a few individuals during the months of its migratory passages. The majority of observations are concentrated in the Punta of Calaburras (Mijas Costa) and in the mouth of the Guadalhorce.
The Lesser Crested Tern has sporadically bred in the Ebro Delta and in the Albufera of Valencia sharing colonies with the Sandwich Tern, forming mixed pairs and hybridising.