Roseate Tern

Sterna Dougallii

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Code 4

ROST

Code 6

STEDOU

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Roseate Tern may be found in east Africa, across the Indian Ocean, and in Japan. Some populations breed in Australia and New Caledonia. The Roseate Tern is also found in Atlantic coastal areas of Europe and North America. During winter months, this species flies south to the Caribbean and West Africa. Breeding is conducted in colonies on coastlines and islands. Nests are scraped in the ground, often under dense and low vegetation. This bird catches food by diving for fish underwater, and may also steal fish from others. The conservation status of the Roseate Tern is currently listed as Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Roseate Tern: White below with slight, variable pinkish cast visible in good light; pale gray above with black cap, nape and deeply forked tail that projects well beyond wingtips at rest. Bill mostly black with some red at base; legs and feet are red-orange. Graceful, direct flight.

 

Range and Habitat

Roseate Tern: Found in temperate and tropical habitats in the northern hemisphere, breeding in two distinct groups: the Northeast population, breeding from the Magdalen Islands of Quebec to Long Island in New York, and a population in the Caribbean Sea. Both winter in South America from Colombia to Brazil. Found entirely in marine environments on islands, barrier beaches, and salt marsh islands.

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Roseate Tern SONGS AND CALLS

Roseate Tern C1

Harsh "aaack" alarm calls given in flight.

Roseate Tern C2

"Chi-weep" and alarm calls.

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

"chi-wee", "keer", "zra-ap", "zhrrraaaaach"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Roseate Tern is less defensive of its nest and young than other white terns, often relying on Arctic and Common Terns in the surrounding colony to defend them.
  • Breeding colonies in the Caribbean are vulnerable to egg collectors, who seek the eggs of this species because of supposed aphrodisiac properties.
  • It sometimes steals fish from other seabirds. This increases their food collecting ability during bad weather when fish swim deeper, out of reach of the terns, but still within reach of the deeper-diving Puffins.
  • A group of terns are collectively known as a "ternery" or a "U" of terns.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

John Schwarz

Artist

Michael Oberhofer

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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CapX
The area on top of the head of the bird.
NapeX
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
Lower mandibleX
The lower part of the bill.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X