How do you find the least tern?

Birds

What is a least tern?

As its name implies, the Least Tern is the smallest of the terns of the Americas; species like the Inca Tern are strikingly different. The birds breed in many areas of the United States and winter mainly along the coast of northern South America, including the coasts of Brazil to Colombia.

Do least terns nest on the beach?

The Least Tern prefers sandy beaches for nesting, but it will use a flat gravel roof of a building. On sunny days the hot tar showing through the gravel can burn the feet of chicks or become stuck in their down. The oldest recorded Least Tern was at least 24 years, 1 month old when it was found in New Jersey in 1981.

What is the closest relative to the little tern?

It is closely related to, and was formerly often considered conspecific with, the little tern of the Old World. Other close relatives include the yellow-billed tern and Peruvian tern, both from South America.

What is the smallest tern in the world?

The Least Tern is the world’s smallest tern—it weighs in at about the same size as a mockingbird. The “interior” Least Tern, which nests in the vast Mississippi River drainage, was listed as Endangered in 1985 when the population was estimated at fewer than 2,000 birds.

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What kind of animal is a least tern?

The least tern (Sternula antillarum) is a species of tern that breeds in North America and locally in northern South America. It is closely related to, and was formerly often considered conspecific with, the little tern of the Old World.

Where do least terns live in Florida?

Outside of Florida, least terns are found along the U.S. Atlantic Coast, mid Atlantic states, and down from Mexico to northern Argentina (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). In early spring least terns return from wintering grounds in Latin America.

Is the little tern a seabird?

Found around our coasts during the breeding season, the little tern is a diminutive seabird. Despite its size, it performs remarkable aerial courtship displays. Classified in the UK as Amber under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015).

What is the scientific name of the little tern?

Little Tern. Scientific name: Sternula albifrons. Found around our coasts during the breeding season, the Little Tern is a diminutive seabird. Despite its size, it performs remarkable aerial courtship displays.

Is the little tern a protected species?

Found around our coasts during the breeding season, the little tern is a diminutive seabird. Despite its size, it performs remarkable aerial courtship displays. Classified in the UK as Amber under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015). Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

Where do little terns live?

This bird species has different identifying features depending on sex/age/season. Little terns are a strictly coastal species found around the UK coastline at suitable breeding beaches.

What is the smallest type of tern?

The least, or little, tern (S. albifrons), under 25 cm (10 inches) long, is the smallest tern. It breeds on sandy coasts and river sandbars in temperate to tropical regions worldwide except South America.

What do least terns do?

Least Terns dart over waterways, usually close to shore, diving for fish or other small prey. Males bring small fish to females for courtship feeding during much of the nesting season. Flight is strong and direct, on stiff, jerky, rapid wingbeats.

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Is the least tern a common species?

While its breeding range is broad, and it is common in places, this species has faced many challenges. In the 1800s, ladies wore hats with bird feathers, and Least Tern wings were used as decorations.

What is the smallest tern in North America?

The Least Tern is the smallest tern in North America and nests on sandy beaches along both coasts of the United States, and along major rivers in the interior of the continent. While its breeding range is broad, and it is common in places, this species has faced many challenges.

Is the least tern an endangered species?

The least tern is protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act. It is also protected as an Endangered Species (Midwest and Great Plains states only) by the Federal Endangered Species Act and as a State-designated Threatened species by Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule. BirdLife International. 2009.

What kind of birds live in Audubon Florida?

Audubon Florida: Beach Birds Identification – Terns and Gulls Terns: “sporty” appearance, most species dive to catch their food Least Tern (LETE)*: smallest, yellow bill and legs, white forehead, not in Florida in winter Caspian Tern (CATE)*: largest, stout red bill, black on head reaches bill in winter

What is the UK’s smallest tern?

Living up to its name, the little tern is the UK’s smallest tern and can be seen nesting on gravelly beaches in small colonies. It feeds just offshore, hovering above the water before diving in to catch its prey of small fish.

What does a tern bird look like in August?

A summer visitor to Europe, the little tern leaves in August to spend the winter in Africa. Silvery-grey above and white below, the little tern has a black cap, a black eyestripe, and a white forehead. It has a short tail, tiny, yellowy-orange legs, and yellow bill with a black tip.

What kind of bird is a little tern?

The little tern ( Sternula albifrons) is a seabird of the family Laridae. It was formerly placed into the genus Sterna, which now is restricted to the large white terns. The genus name is a diminutive of Sterna, “tern”. The specific albifrons is from Latin albus, “white”, and “frons”, forehead.

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Where can I see little terns in the UK?

Where and when to see them. Little terns are a strictly coastal species found around the UK coastline at suitable breeding beaches. The largest colonies are found along the east and south coasts of Scotland and England at sites which include Blakeney Point and Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, Minsmere, Suffolk and Langstone Harbour, Hampshire.

How many eggs do little terns lay?

The little tern breeds in colonies on gravel or shingle coasts and islands. It lays two to four eggs on the ground. Like all white terns, it is defensive of its nest and young and will attack intruders. Like most other white terns, the little tern feeds by plunge-diving for fish, usually from saline environments.

What does a little tern bird look like?

The Little Tern is mainly white with a dark crown, pale grey back and upperwings. The eye is dark brown. When breeding, the bill is yellow, the crown black with a short, pointed white brow and the black eye-line reaches the bill. In non-breeding plumage, the crown is mottled with white and the bill blackish.

Do terns breed in the UK?

Terns (Sternidae): including the Little Tern there are five species of terns breeding in the British Isles. The others are Common Tern, Roseate Tern, Arctic Tern and Sandwich Tern. Little Terns return to the UK in April to breed. Courtship starts with an aerial display involving the male calling and carrying fish to attract a mate.

What do terns do in the ocean?

This smallest of the world’s terns is a noisy presence around its breeding colonies and in coastal waters or broad inland rivers. They fly with jerky wingbeats, hover briefly as they take aim, and then dive into the water to catch small fish. Breeding males often bring these fish back to feed their mates, leading to graceful aerial displays.