Living Bird Magazine
Roseate TernSterna dougallii
- ORDER: Charadriiformes
- FAMILY: Laridae
A medium-sized tern similar in appearance to several other species, the Roseate Tern is primarily a tropical bird. It breeds across the globe in tropical oceans, and reaches into the temperate zone in the northern Atlantic, where it breeds in scattered localities.More ID Info
- Charrán Rosado (Spanish)
- Sterne de Dougall (French)
- Cool Facts
- In Roseate Terns that breed in the Northeast, the bill is black in May, becomes progressively redder from the base toward the tip during June and July, and turns blacker again in August. In Caribbean birds, the bill is one-third to one-half red in May, and becomes mostly red during June and July.
- Once heavily collected for the plume trade, and vulnerable to egg collectors, Roseate Tern numbers increased following the protection of colonies in North America. Breeding colonies in the Caribbean are still vulnerable to eggers, who preferentially seek the eggs of this species because of supposed aphrodisiac properties.
- The oldest recorded Roseate Tern was at least 25 years, 8 months old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Brazil in 1997. It had been banded in Massachusetts in 1971.