Little Tern

Sternula albifrons sinensis

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Code 4

Non-AOU

Code 6

STEALB

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Little Tern has a very large breeding range of more than 11 million square kilometers. This small tern breeds across much of Europe, northern Africa, and central Asia, eastern Asia, large river valleys in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northern India, and parts of western Africa. It also breeds in coastal areas of southeastern Asia, the Philippines, and Australia. The Little Tern winters at coastal sites in Africa, the Red and Arabian Seas, India, southeastern Asia, Indonesia, and Australia. The size of the population is believed to be anywhere from 190,000 to 410,000 individuals. Although this species is decreasing in some areas, the population is still large enough to warrant a conservation rating of Least Concern.

SUMMARY

Overview

Little Tern: Small white tern, black cap, white front. White-gray on back and upper wings. Outer three primaries black-gray. Medium, pointed, orange-yellow bill with black tip. Short, orange-yellow legs and feet. Sexes similar. Winter adult has less black on head, black bill, and duller legs. Juvenile like winter adult but more black in wings.

 

Range and Habitat

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Little Tern SONGS AND CALLS

Little Tern I1

Chattering from a colony.

Little Tern E1

Calls of begging juvenile and adults in flight.

Similar Sounding

Common Tern S1

"Kip" and "krrr" calls given in chase.


Voice Text

"kirrikikki kirrikikki", "kik-kik", "kyik", "kriet"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • During courtship displays, males of this species make an offering of fish to females.
  • Little Terns were common along European shores and wetlands at the beginning of the 19th century, however human disturbance and pollution have caused populations to decrease.
  • This species is strongly migratory, breeding along the coasts and waterways of tropical and temperate Europe and Asia and wintering as far south as Australia and South Africa.
  • A group of terns is collectively known as a "ternery" or a "U" of terns.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP PALAU

About this Palau Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across the Palau islands.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Artist

Chris Vest

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

.
CapX
The area on top of the head of the bird.
PrimariesX
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
Lower mandibleX
The lower part of the bill.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X