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Least Tern

Sternula antillarum ORDER: CHARADRIIFORMES FAMILY: LARIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

The smallest of American Terns, the Least Tern is found nesting on sandy beaches along the southern coasts of the United States and up the major river systems far into the interior of the continent.

Yard Map Birds Eye View
Birds of North America Online

Appearance

Gull-like
Gull-like
Typical Voice

Adult Description

Small tern. During breeding, black cap ending at white forehead. Short white eyestripe. Bill yellow with black tip. Back light gray. Underside white. Black leading edge to wing. In nonbreeding plumage has black eyestripe extending to back of head, white top of head, and black bill.

Immature Description

Juvenile with U-shaped marks across back. Immature resembles winter adult.

Range Map Help

Least Tern Range Map
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Field MarksHelp

Similar Species

  • Winter Black Tern has darker gray wings and tail.