Forster's Tern

Sterna forsteri

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Code 4

FOTE

Code 6

STEFOR

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Forster's Tern has a current evaluation of Least Concern. The range of this bird species is almost 2 million square kilometers. The population of Forster's Tern is about 120,000 individual birds. Forster's Tern is native to the Caribbean, South America and Central America. It is also known to visit portions of Europe as well. This bird was once ranked as Lower Risk, an earlier rating that was downgraded to Least Concern as a result of its range and population size. At this time Forster's Tern is not believed to be facing any immediate dangers.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Forster's Tern: Medium tern, pale gray upperparts, black cap, white underparts. Bill is orange, black tip. Wings are pale gray with paler primaries. Tail is pale gray, deeply forked with dark inner edge, white outer edge. Orange legs, feet. Hovers above water before diving for prey.


Range and Habitat

Forster's Tern: Breeds along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and in interior British Columbia and California east to the Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic states. Spends winters along the coasts from California and Virginia southward. In the west, prefers freshwater marshes, whereas in the east, prefers salt marshes.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"ki-arr", "za-a-ap", "zrurrr", "beep"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Forster's Tern is the only tern restricted almost entirely to North America throughout the year.
  • They breed in marshes near Black Terns. Wandering semi-precocial young may account for observations of each species feeding the other's young.
  • This bird is named after the naturalist Johann Reinhold Forster.
  • A group of terns are collectively known as a "ternery" or a "U" of terns.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Forster's Tern

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX
Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.
UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
CapX
The area on top of the head of the bird.
PrimariesX
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
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