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Black Tern

Chlidonias niger ORDER: CHARADRIIFORMES FAMILY: LARIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A small dark, graceful tern of freshwater marshes, the Black Tern eats insects as well as fish.

At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
9.1–10.2 in
23–26 cm
Wingspan
22.4–23.6 in
57–60 cm
Weight
1.8–2.1 oz
50–60 g
Other Names
  • Guifette noire (French)
  • Gaviotin negro, Charrán negro, Fumarel negro (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Black Tern is very social. It breeds in loose colonies and usually forages, roosts,and migrates in flocks of a few to more than 100 birds, occasionally up to tens of thousands.
  • The oldest recorded Black Tern was at least 11 years, 3 months old. It had been banded in Wisconsin and was found in Louisiana.

Habitat


Marsh

Food


Insects

Nesting

Nest Placement

Floating

Behavior


Aerial Dive

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Black Tern populations declined by almost 2% per year between 1966 and 2014, resulting in a cumulative decline of 57%, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. The North American Waterbird Conservation Plan estimates a population of 100,000-500,000 breeding birds in North America, rates them an 11 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, and lists them as a Species of Moderate Concern. The 2014 State of the Birds Report lists them as a Common Bird in Steep Decline.

Credits

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