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Bird name:

Little Tern

Sternula albifrons

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Terns (Sternidae)

BTO 2

AF

BTO 5

LITTE

Euring 5

06240
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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

UK Conservation Status


Amber Status

European Conservation Status


Conservation Description


The Little Tern is a fairly common summer resident and migrant in various coastal areas of the UK, Isle of Man, and Ireland. However, it has an "Amber" status because its nesting sites are vulnerable and it has declined in other parts of its range.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Little Tern: Small, slender seabird with narrow, black-tipped, yellow bill. White with grey back and black-tipped wings. Head has white front, black crown and nape, and black line through eye. Has short, orange legs and feet. Graceful, swooping flight on fairly rapid wings. Also hovers.


Range and Habitat

Little Tern: Summer breeder in the UK. Found primarily on the coastline, birds can be seen on beaches of western and southeastern Scotland, north Wales, south and eastern England, and the west and east coasts of Ireland. The largest colonies are in England. The birds stay from April through August.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Xeno-Canto Sound

Little Tern DDD1

  • Title: Little Tern DDD1
  • Recordist: Sander Bot
  • Description: Flight call is a chattering "kerrikerri".
  • Location: ma
  • Date: "August 15, 2016"

Little Tern I1

  • Title: Little Tern I1
  • Recordist: David Farrow
  • Description: Display chatter.
  • Location: uk
  • Date: "August 15, 2016"

Little Tern P1

  • Title: Little Tern P1
  • Recordist: Patrik Aberg
  • Description: "Kree-it" calls from a pair at a nest.
  • Location: se
  • Date: "August 15, 2016"

Voice Text

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

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Little Tern is noisy at its breeding colony, where courtship begins with an aerial display involving the male carrying a fish and calling to attract a mate.
  • As with most other terns, it feeds by plunge-diving for fish. The males offer fish to the females as part of the courtship display.
  • This chattering seabird is the UK's smallest tern.
  • A group of terns are collectively known as a "U" or a "ternery" of terns.

RELATED BIRDS

RANGE MAP

Range Map for Little Tern

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Artist

Chris Vest

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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CrownX
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
NapeX
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
4 and 6 letter alpha codesX

The four letter common name alpha code is is derived from the first two letters of the common first name and the first two letters of common last name. The six letter species name alpha code is derived from the first three letters of the scientific name (genus) and the first three letters of the scientific name (species). See (1) below for the rules used to create the codes..

Four-letter (for English common names) and six-letter (for scientific names) species alpha codes were developed by Pyle and DeSante (2003, North American Bird-Bander 28:64-79) to reflect A.O.U. taxonomy and nomenclature (A.O.U. 1998) as modified by Supplements 42 (Auk 117:847-858, 2000) and 43 (Auk 119:897-906, 2002). The list has been updated by Pyle and DeSante to reflect changes reported by the A.O.U from 2003 through 2006.

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ITIS CodesX

The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) was established in the mid-1990 s as a cooperative project among several federal agencies to improve and expand upon taxonomic data (known as the NODC Taxonomic Code) maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To find the ITIS page for a bird species go to the ITIS web site advanced search and report page at http://www.itis.gov/advanced_search.html. You can enter the TSN or the common name of the bird. It will return the ITIS page for that bird. Another way to obtain the ITIS page is to use the Google search engine. Enter the string ITIS followed by the taxonomic ID, for example "ITIS 178041" will return the page for the Allen's Hummingbird.

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Parts of a Standing birdX
Head Feathers and MarkingsX
Parts of a Flying birdX