A messenger tern wearing a harness, as shown in the Manual of Aeronautics.

Messenger terns, sometimes called carrier or homing terns,  are fabricated birds used to send messages. Messenger terns can fly long distances without getting tired, making them ideal for international communication.


The life threads of the messenger tern are largely derrived from the Greater Crested Tern and the Sandwich Tern, but the sturdy legs come from the Indian Giant Squirrel . The bird is grey with a darker, forked tail. It has a black crest, mask, and beak. (Tipped with cream) The overall shape is very streamlined.


Messenger terns are kept in the rookery, along with all the Leviathan's other birds. When needed, a rook man fits a small harness and a waterproof tube onto a bird and inserts a message. The birds can fly for extremely long distances very quickly, able to cross entire oceans while feeding themselves on fish. Often they are used to send messages from one end of a ship to another. Messenger terns are preferred by Darwinists because they are not easily intercepted by enemies and spies.


  • Eddie Malone files his news reports by messenger tern.
  • In a Manual illustration, Deryn is seen holding a messenger tern.
  • Captain Hobbes keeps a caged messenger tern on his desk.