- 15.4–16.5 in
- 42.1 in
- 6.7–11.5 oz
- Sterne élégante (French)
- Charrán elegante, Golondrina-marina elegante (Spanish)
- Approximately 90-97% of all Elegant Terns nest in one colony on Isla Rasa in the Gulf of California, Mexico.
- The Elegant Tern was first found nesting in the United States in 1959 in San Diego Bay, California. Since the 1980s, several more colonies have been established in California.
Coastal waters, occasionally ocean far from land. Breeds on low, flat, sandy islands.
Small fish. Some invertebrates.
- Clutch Size
- 1–2 eggs
- Condition at Hatching
- Downy, eyes open, able to walk but stays in nest.
Flies over water with bill pointing down; plunges into water to catch fish.
More widespread and abundant in southern Gulf of California in the past; now nests mostly on one island, Isla Rasa, Mexico. Rapidly expanding population in California. Present limited distribution, and annual fluctuations at some colonies, are due at least in part to deleterious effects of humans and feral animals.
- Burness, G. P., K. Lefevre, and C. T. Collins. 1999. Elegant Tern (Sterna elegans). In The Birds of North America, No. 404 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.