Black Tern Chlidonias niger


Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Christidis, L. and Boles, W.E. 2008. Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
SACC. 2005 and updates. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2018 Least Concern
2016 Least Concern
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Average mass -
Extent of occurrence (EOO)

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 41,400,000
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 73,300,000
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -
Population and trend
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor estimated 2012
Population trend Decreasing estimated -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulations - - -
Generation length (yrs) 8.8 - - -

Population justification: The global population is estimated at 800,000-1,750,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2015). The European population is estimated at 74,400-154,000 pairs, which equates to 149,000-308,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015).

Trend justification: The overall population trend is declining (Wetlands International 2015). In North America, this species has undergone a small or statistically insignificant decrease over the last 40 years (data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count: Butcher and Niven 2007). The European population trend is unknown (BirdLife International 2015).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Afghanistan V Extant
Albania N Extant Yes
Algeria N Extant
Angola N Extant
Anguilla (to UK) N Extant
Antigua and Barbuda N Extant
Argentina N Extant
Armenia N Extant Yes
Aruba (to Netherlands) N Extant
Australia V Extant
Austria N Extant Yes
Azerbaijan N Extant Yes
Bahamas N Extant
Bahrain V Extant Yes
Barbados N Extant
Belarus N Extant Yes
Belgium N Extant Yes Yes
Belize N Extant
Benin N Extant
Bermuda (to UK) N Extant
Bosnia and Herzegovina N Extant Yes
Brazil N Extant
Bulgaria N Extant Yes
Cameroon N Extant
Canada N Extant Yes
Cayman Islands (to UK) N Extant
Chad V Extant
Chile N Extant
China (mainland) N Extant
Colombia N Extant
Congo N Extant
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the V Extant
Costa Rica N Extant Yes Yes
Côte d'Ivoire N Extant
Croatia N Extant Yes Yes
Cuba N Extant
Cyprus N Extant
Czechia N Extant Yes
Denmark N Extant Yes Yes
Djibouti N Extant
Dominica N Extant
Dominican Republic N Extant
Ecuador N Extant
Egypt N Extant
El Salvador N Extant
Equatorial Guinea N Extant
Eritrea N Extant
Estonia N Extant Yes
Ethiopia N Extant
Finland N Extant Yes
France N Extant Yes Yes
French Guiana N Extant
Gabon N Extant
Gambia N Extant
Georgia N Extant Yes
Germany N Extant Yes Yes
Ghana N Extant
Gibraltar (to UK) N Extant Yes
Greece N Extant Yes Yes
Grenada V Extant
Guadeloupe (to France) V Extant Yes
Guatemala N Extant
Guinea N Extant
Guinea-Bissau N Extant
Guyana N Extant
Haiti N Extant
Honduras N Extant
Hungary N Extant Yes Yes
Iceland V Extant Yes
India N Extant
Iran, Islamic Republic of N Extant Yes
Iraq V Extant Yes
Ireland N Extant
Israel N Extant
Italy N Extant Yes Yes
Jamaica N Extant Yes
Japan V Extant
Jordan N Extant Yes
Kazakhstan N Extant Yes
Kenya V Extant
Kuwait V Extant Yes
Kyrgyzstan N Extant Yes
Latvia N Extant Yes
Lebanon V Extant Yes
Liberia N Extant
Libya N Extant
Liechtenstein N Extant
Lithuania N Extant Yes
Luxembourg N Extant
Madagascar V Extant
Mali N Extant
Malta N Extant
Martinique (to France) N Extant
Mauritania N Extant
Mexico N Extant
Moldova N Extant Yes
Mongolia N Extant Yes
Montenegro N Extant Yes
Montserrat (to UK) N Extant
Morocco N Extant
Namibia N Extant
Netherlands N Extant Yes Yes
Nicaragua N Extant
Niger V Extant
Nigeria N Extant
North Macedonia N Extant Yes
Oman V Extant Yes
Palestinian Authority Territories N Extant Yes
Panama N Extant
Peru N Extant
Poland N Extant Yes Yes
Portugal N Extant Yes
Puerto Rico (to USA) N Extant
Romania N Extant Yes Yes
Russia N Extant Yes Yes
Russia (Asian) N Extant Yes
Russia (Central Asian) N Extant Yes Yes
Russia (European) N Extant Yes Yes
Rwanda V Extant
São Tomé e Príncipe U Extant
Saudi Arabia V Extant Yes
Senegal N Extant Yes
Serbia N Extant Yes
Sierra Leone N Extant
Slovakia N Extant Yes Yes
Slovenia N Extant Yes Yes
Somalia V Extant
South Africa N Extant
Spain N Extant Yes Yes
Sri Lanka N Extant
St Kitts and Nevis N Extant
St Lucia N Extant
St Pierre and Miquelon (to France) N Extant Yes Yes
St Vincent and the Grenadines N Extant
Sudan V Extant Yes
Suriname N Extant
Sweden N Extant Yes Yes
Switzerland N Extant
Syria N Extant Yes
Tajikistan N Extant
Tanzania N Extant
Togo N Extant
Trinidad and Tobago N Extant
Tunisia N Extant
Turkey N Extant Yes Yes
Turkmenistan N Extant Yes
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) N Extant
Ukraine N Extant Yes Yes
United Arab Emirates V Extant Yes Yes
United Kingdom N Extant Yes
Uruguay V Extant
USA N Extant Yes
Uzbekistan N Extant
Venezuela N Extant
Virgin Islands (to UK) V Extant
Virgin Islands (to USA) V Extant
Western Sahara N Extant
Yemen V Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Belarus Biarezina-Hajna
Belarus Biarezinski zapaviednik
Belarus Dakudaŭskaje
Belarus Dniepr floodplain Lojeŭ-Žary
Belarus Ipuć floodplain
Belarus Mid Prypiac'
Belarus Polesye valley of river Buh
Belarus Sož floodplain
Belarus Sporaŭskaje balota
Belgium IJzervallei-De Blankaart
Benin Lake Nokoué
Bulgaria Hadzi Dimitrovo Fish-ponds
Bulgaria Kalimok Complex
Bulgaria Mechka Fish-ponds
Bulgaria Srebarna
Denmark Eastern part of Vejlerne
Denmark Kongens Mose and Draved Skov
Denmark Tøndermarsken, Magisterkog and Rudbøl Sø
Estonia Lahepera lake
Estonia Räpina polder
Estonia Ropka-Ihaste
Estonia Väinameri
Estonia Vooremaa
Estonia Võrtsjärv
France Anse de Fouras, baie d'Yves et marais de Rochefort
France Baie des Veys et Marais du Cotentin
France Brenne centrale
France Camargue
France Estuaire de la Loire
France Etangs de Sologne: étang de l'Arche
France Etangs de Sologne: St Viatre, Marcilly-en-Gault et forêt de Bruadan
France Ile d'Oléron, marais de Brouage-Saint-Agnant
France Marais de Brière
France Marais poitevin et baie de l'Aiguillon
France Petite Camargue fluvio-lacustre
France Plaine du Forez
Germany Aland-Elbe lowlands
Germany Altmühl valley between Treuchtlingen and Leutershausen with Altmühlsee
Germany Ammersee
Germany Banks of the Müggelspree
Germany Chiemsee and Chiemseemoore
Germany Deichvorland Oderbruch
Germany Dümmer
Germany Eiderstedt
Germany Elbe lowlands between Schnackenburg and Lauenburg
Germany Elbe lowlands Jerichow
Germany Elbe lowlands near Bertingen
Germany Elbe marshes between Stade and Otterndorf
Germany Emsaue (Rietberger Emsniederung - Steinhorster Becken)
Germany Eriskircher Ried of Lake Constance
Germany Esterweger Dose
Germany Ewiges Meer
Germany Federseeried
Germany Geeste lowlands near Bramel
Germany Greifswalder Bodden
Germany Grosser Plöner See
Germany Grosshartmannsdorfer Grossteich
Germany Heerter See
Germany Hessian Rhine alluvion
Germany Heubachniederung/ Schwarzes Venn/ Borkenberge/ Halterner Seen
Germany Huvenhoopsmor and Breddorfer Wiesen
Germany Island of Usedom
Germany Ismaninger Speichersee and fish ponds
Germany Lakes of Schwerin, Dambeck and Warin
Germany Leine valley near Salzderhelden
Germany Lower Havel - Lake Schollene - Lake Gülpe
Germany Lower Inn: Haiming - Neuhaus including the Neuhaus, Egglfing, Ering, and Simbach reservoirs
Germany Lower Oder valley
Germany Lower reaches of River Weser, unembanked area
Germany Lower Rhine
Germany Lowlands of middle Havel
Germany Lowlands of the Rivers Eider, Treene and Sorge
Germany Mecklenburgische Schweiz
Germany Möhnesee
Germany Peenetal (Peenetalmoor and Anklamer Stadtbruch)
Germany Pinneberg Elbe lowlands
Germany Ponds and Elbe valley near Torgau
Germany Rieselfelder Münster
Germany Rietzer See
Germany Schorfheide-Chorin
Germany Schwalm-Nette-Platte and Grenzwald
Germany Spreewald
Germany Steinhuder Meer
Germany Untersee of Lake Constance
Germany Vogelsberg
Germany Wagbach lowlands
Germany Wetterau
Ghana Densu Delta Ramsar Site and vicinity
Ghana Keta Lagoon Ramsar Site
Ghana Muni-Pomadze Ramsar Site
Ghana Sakumo Lagoon Ramsar Site and vicinity
Ghana Songor Ramsar Site
Greece Lake Kerkini
Guinea-Bissau Arquipélago dos Bijagós
Hungary Bodrogzug–Taktaköz
Hungary Borsodi-Mezőség
Hungary Hortobágy and Tisza-to
Hungary Lake Kis-Balaton
Hungary Lower Tisza Valley
Italy Vercelli rice-fields
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan portion of the river Volga's Delta - Zhambay
Latvia Babite lake
Latvia Engure lake
Latvia Liepaja lake
Latvia Lubans and fish-ponds
Latvia Razna
Liberia Lake Piso (Cape Mount)
Lithuania A part of the Vasaknos fish-farm
Lithuania Birzulius-Stervas marshes complex
Lithuania Cedasas Lake
Lithuania Flooded meadows arround the Senoji & Naujoji Rusne lakes
Lithuania Kazimieravas lake with surrounding wetlands
Lithuania Lake Druksiai
Lithuania Metelys, Dusia & Obelija lakes
Lithuania Nemunas delta regional Park
Lithuania Plinksiai state Nature Reserve and its environs
Lithuania Sartai (Sartai Regional park and neighbouring Rokiskis fish-ponds)
Lithuania Smalva Hydrographical Reserve
Mexico Complejo de Presas de Río Fuerte
Mexico Estero Cardonal
Mexico Farallon San Ignacio
Mexico Istmo de Tehuantepec-Mar Muerto
Mexico Laguna de Tamiahua
Mexico Lagunas del Playón de Mismaloya
Mexico Playa Linda–Río Suchiate
Mexico Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano
Mexico Tecolutla
Netherlands Balgzand
Netherlands De Wieden
Netherlands Deelen
Netherlands Gelderse Poort
Netherlands Lake Gooimeer
Netherlands Lake IJsselmeer
Netherlands Markermeer & IJmeer
Netherlands Nieuwkoopse Plassen & De Haeck
Netherlands Oostelijke Vechtplassen
Netherlands Oostvaardersplassen
Poland Augustów forest
Poland Barycz river valley
Poland Biebrza river valley
Poland Druzno lake
Poland Insko Site
Poland Kostrzyn River Valley
Poland Kwiecewo Site
Poland Liwiec river valley
Poland Lower Bug river valley
Poland Lower Narew River Valley
Poland Lower Notec River Valley
Poland Lower Odra river valley
Poland Lower Vistula River Valley
Poland Lower Wieprz River Valley
Poland Middle Bug river valley
Poland Middle Warta River Valley
Poland Oswin site
Poland Peatbogs at Wieprz River
Poland Przysowia and Sludwia River valley
Poland Siemianowka Reseirvoir
Poland Sredzka Struga and Maskawa River Valley
Poland Swidwie Site
Poland Tysmienica river valley
Poland Upper Vistula River Valley
Poland Upper Wisla River Valley
Poland Vistula Lagoon
Poland Warta River Mouth
Portugal Albufeira do Caia
Romania Comana
Romania Danube Delta
Romania Dunărea Veche (Braţul Măcin)
Romania Iezerul Călăraşi
Romania Ilfov reservoir
Romania Jijiei şi Miletinului fish-ponds
Romania Lake Brateş
Romania Lunca Siretului Inferior
Romania Satchinez marsh
Romania Suhaia
Russia (Central Asian) Chernoye Lake
Russia (Central Asian) Kurtan Lake
Russia (European) Delta of the River Don
Russia (European) Pereluchski Nature Reserve
Russia (European) Ptich'ya magistral' area
Russia (European) Ressetinskiye floods
Russia (European) Savtsinskoye marsh
Russia (European) Upper Mologa river (lake Verestovo)
Russia (European) Valley of Zhizdra river
Russia (European) Zavidovo Reserve, including Lotoshinski, Klinski and Diatlovo fish ponds
Senegal Cap Vert
Slovakia Medzibodrozie
Slovenia River Drava
Spain Guadalquivir marshes
Spain Llobregat delta
Sweden Lake Hornborga
Sweden Lake Tåkern
Sweden Lake Vendel
Sweden Western part of Lake Mälaren
Turkey Balıkdamı
Turkey Çavuşçu Lake
Ukraine Bulakhivs'kyj lyman
Ukraine Dniprodzerzhyns'ke reservoir
Ukraine Kryva peninsula
Ukraine Kyivs'ke reservoir
Ukraine Mikulinetskie fish-ponds
Ukraine Mishuryn Rig
Ukraine Mzha river valley
Ukraine Orikhivski lake-system
Ukraine Pryp'yat' river valley
Ukraine Radomyshl's'ke Game Reserve
Ukraine Samars'kyj forest
Ukraine Snyvoda river valley
Ukraine Sosyns'kyj protected area
Ukraine Stokhod river valley
Ukraine Sul's'ka bay
Ukraine Supij marsh
Ukraine Syvash Bay
Ukraine Tsybul'kivs'ki lakes
Ukraine Udaj river valley
Ukraine Vovk river valley

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Artificial/Aquatic - Seasonally Flooded Agricultural Land suitable breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Artificial/Aquatic - Wastewater Treatment Areas suitable non-breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes suitable non-breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Freshwater Lakes suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud suitable non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) suitable non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Mesopelagic (200-1000m) suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Marshes/Pools suitable breeding
Altitude   Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Agro-industry farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Climate change & severe weather Droughts Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Causing/Could cause fluctuations Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Reduced reproductive success
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Cichla ocellaris Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Indirect ecosystem effects
Natural system modifications Dams & water management/use - Abstraction of surface water (agricultural use) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation
Natural system modifications Dams & water management/use - Abstraction of surface water (domestic use) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Sport Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Non-trivial Recent
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Chlidonias niger. Downloaded from on 19/09/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 19/09/2019.