LC
Common Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica



Taxonomy

Taxonomic note
Gelochelidon nilotica and G. macrotarsa (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) were previously placed in the genus Sterna and lumped as S. nilotica following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993).

Taxonomic source(s)
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.

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

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2019 Least Concern
2018 Least Concern
2016 Least Concern
2014 Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Average mass 215 g
Distribution

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 163,000,000
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 272,000,000
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals unknown not applicable not applicable 0
Population trend Decreasing suspected -
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 - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 11.7 - - -

Population justification: The global population of G. nilotica and G. macrotarsa combined is estimated to number c.150,000-420,000 individuals (Delany and Scott 2006), but the global population of G. nilotica has not been estimated separately following the taxonomic split. The European population is estimated at 16,600-21,200 pairs, which equates to 33,200-42,400 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015).

Trend justification: The population is suspected to be in decline owing to habitat loss and degradation in the core of its range (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The European population is estimated to be increasing (BirdLife International 2015).


Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Afghanistan N Extant Yes
Algeria N Extant Yes
Angola V Extant
Anguilla (to UK) N Extant Yes
Antigua and Barbuda N Extant Yes
Argentina N Extant Yes
Armenia N Extant Yes
Aruba (to Netherlands) U Presence Uncertain
Australia N Extant Yes
Azerbaijan N Extant Yes
Bahamas N Extant Yes
Bahrain N Extant Yes Yes
Bangladesh N Extant Yes
Barbados N Extant Yes
Belgium V Extant
Belize N Extant Yes
Benin N Extant Yes
Bermuda (to UK) V Extant
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (to Netherlands) V Extant
Bosnia and Herzegovina V Extant
Botswana V Extant
Brazil N Extant Yes Yes
Brunei N Extant Yes
Bulgaria N Extant Yes
Burkina Faso N Extant Yes
Burundi N Extant Yes
Cambodia N Extant Yes
Cameroon N Extant Yes
Canada V Extant
Cayman Islands (to UK) N Extant Yes
Chad N Extant Yes
China (mainland) N Extant Yes Yes
Colombia N Extant Yes
Comoros V Extant
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the N Extant Yes
Costa Rica N Extant Yes
Côte d'Ivoire N Extant Yes
Croatia V Extant
Cuba N Extant Yes Yes
Curaçao (to Netherlands) N Extant Yes
Denmark N Extant Yes
Djibouti N Extant Yes
Dominica N Extant Yes
Dominican Republic N Extant Yes
Ecuador N Extant Yes
Egypt N Extant Yes
El Salvador N Extant Yes
Eritrea N Extant Yes
Ethiopia N Extant Yes
Finland V Extant
France N Extant Yes
French Guiana N Extant Yes
Gabon V Extant
Gambia N Extant Yes
Germany N Extant Yes
Ghana N Extant Yes
Greece N Extant Yes
Guadeloupe (to France) N Extant Yes
Guam (to USA) V Extant
Guatemala N Extant Yes
Guinea N Extant Yes
Guinea-Bissau N Extant Yes
Guyana N Extant Yes
Haiti N Extant Yes
Honduras N Extant
Hungary V Extant
India N Extant Yes
Indonesia N Extant Yes
Iran, Islamic Republic of N Extant Yes Yes
Iraq N Extant Yes
Ireland V Extant
Italy N Extant Yes
Jamaica N Extant Yes
Japan N Extant Yes Yes
Jordan N Extant Yes
Kazakhstan N Extant Yes
Kenya N Extant Yes
Kuwait N Extant Yes Yes
Kyrgyzstan N Extant Yes
Lebanon V Extant
Liberia N Extant Yes
Libya U Presence Uncertain
Luxembourg V Extant
Malawi N Extant Yes
Malaysia N Extant Yes
Mali N Extant Yes
Martinique (to France) N Extant Yes
Mauritania N Extant Yes Yes
Mexico N Extant Yes Yes
Mongolia N Extant Yes
Montenegro V Extant
Montserrat (to UK) U Presence Uncertain
Morocco N Extant Yes
Myanmar N Extant Yes
Nicaragua N Extant Yes
Niger N Extant Yes
Nigeria N Extant Yes
Norway V Extant
Oman N Extant Yes Yes
Pakistan N Extant Yes Yes Yes
Panama N Extant Yes
Papua New Guinea N Extant Yes
Peru N Extant Yes Yes
Philippines N Extant Yes
Poland V Extant
Portugal N Extant Yes
Puerto Rico (to USA) N Extant Yes
Qatar N Extant Yes Yes
Romania N Extant Yes
Russia N Extant Yes
Russia (Asian) N Extant Yes
Russia (Central Asian) N Extant Yes
Russia (European) N Extant Yes
Rwanda N Extant Yes
Saudi Arabia N Extant Yes Yes Yes
Senegal N Extant Yes
Serbia V Extant
Seychelles V Extant
Sierra Leone N Extant Yes
Singapore U Presence Uncertain
Sint Maarten (to Netherlands) V Extant
Slovakia V Extant
Slovenia V Extant
Somalia N Extant Yes
South Africa V Extant
South Korea V Extant
South Sudan N Extant Yes
Spain N Extant Yes
Sri Lanka N Extant Yes
St Barthelemy (to France) N Extant
St Kitts and Nevis U Presence Uncertain
St Lucia V Extant
St Martin (to France) V Extant Yes
St Vincent and the Grenadines V Extant
Sudan N Extant Yes
Suriname N Extant Yes
Sweden V Extant
Syria N Presence Uncertain Yes
Taiwan, China N Extant Yes
Tajikistan N Extant Yes
Tanzania N Extant Yes
Thailand N Extant Yes
Timor-Leste N Extant Yes
Togo N Extant Yes
Trinidad and Tobago N Extant Yes
Tunisia N Extant Yes
Turkey N Extant Yes
Turkmenistan N Extant Yes
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) N Extant Yes
Uganda N Extant Yes
Ukraine N Extant Yes
United Arab Emirates N Extant Yes Yes
United Kingdom V Extant
Uruguay N Extant Yes
USA N Extant Yes Yes Yes
Uzbekistan N Extant Yes
Venezuela N Extant Yes
Vietnam N Extant Yes
Virgin Islands (to UK) N Extant Yes
Virgin Islands (to USA) N Extant Yes
Western Sahara N Extant Yes
Yemen N Extant Yes Yes
Zambia N Extant Yes
Zimbabwe V Extant

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Cyprus Akrotiri salt-lake including Bishop's Pool
Serbia Slano Kopovo
Azerbaijan Pirsagat Islands and Los Island
Bulgaria Atanasovsko Lake
Romania Lake Taşaul
Romania Lake Siutghiol
Turkey Akşehir and Eber Lakes
Turkey Bolluk Lake
Turkey Kulu Lake
Turkey Seyfe Lake
Turkey Sultan Marsh
Turkey Tuz Lake
Turkey Acıgöl Lake
Turkey Erçek Lake
Turkey Işıklı Lake
Turkey Çöl Lake and Çalıkdüzü
Turkey Bulanık and Malazgirt Plains
Turkey Kozanlı Gökgöl
Turkey Eşmekaya Marshes
Greece Evros delta
Greece Lake Ismarida (Mitrikou)
Greece Porto Lagos, lake Vistonida and coastal lagoons
Greece Nestos delta and coastal lagoons
Greece Lake Kerkini
Greece River Axios
Greece Axios, Loudias and Aliakmonas rivers' deltas
Greece Alyki Kitrous lagoon
Greece Kalamas delta
Greece Amvrakikos gulf
Greece Akarnanika mountains
Greece Mesolongi and Aitoliko lagoons, Acheloos delta and Evinos estuary
Greece Kalogria lagoon, Strofylia forest and Lamia marshes
Greece Alyki lagoon, Aigio
Greece Divari Pylou (Gialova) lagoon and Sfaktiria island
Greece Lakes Chortarolimni and Alyki, Moudros gulf, Diapori fen and Fakos peninsula, Limnos
Greece Kalloni Gulf, Lesvos
Greece Reservoirs of former lake Karla
Russia (European) Mouth of Samur river
Russia (European) Delta of the River Don
Russia (European) Islands in the western part of Lake Manych-Gudilo
Russia (European) Lake Manych-Gudilo
Russia (European) Kiziltash limans
Russia (European) Khanskoye Lake
Russia (European) Dadynskiye lakes
Spain Pedro Muñoz-Manjavacas endorreic lagoons
Spain Tembleque-La Guardia plains
Spain Alcázar de San Juan-Quero endorreic lagoons
Spain Campo Arañuelo-Valdecañas reservoir
Spain Pela mountain range-Orellana reservoir-Zorita
Spain Gallocanta lake
Spain Ebro delta
Spain Albufera de Valencia marshes
Spain Mar Menor coastal lagoon
Spain Wetlands of western Almería
Spain Wetlands at south Córdoba
Spain Guadalquivir marshes
Spain Fuente de Piedra, Gosque and Campillos lakes
Spain Llobregat delta
Ukraine Syvash Bay
Ukraine Kazantip Cape, Aktash lake and Astanins'ka marsh
Ukraine Karkinits'ka and Dzharylgats'ka bays
Ukraine Bagerove
France Domaine d'Orx
France Estuaire de la Bidassoa et Baie de Fontarabie
France Etangs Narbonnais
France Etangs Montpellierains
France Etangs de Vendres, Pissevache et Lespignan
France Etangs de Canet et de Villeneuve-de-la-Raho et embouchure du Tech
France Petite Camargue fluvio-lacustre
France Petite Camargue laguno-marine
France Camargue
France Salines de l'Etang de Berre
France Marais entre Crau et Grand Rhône: Meyranne, Chanoine, Plan de Bourg et Salins du Caban
France Salins d'Hyères et de Pesquiers
France Etangs de Citis, Lavalduc, Engrenier, Pourra, l'Estomac, Fos et salines de Rassuen et de Fos
France Basse vallée du Var
France Anse de Fouras, baie d'Yves et marais de Rochefort
France Anse du Fiers d'Ars en Ré
France Marais poitevin et baie de l'Aiguillon
Italy Po Delta
Italy Valli di Comacchio and Bonifica del Mezzano
Italy Punte Alberete and Valle della Canna, Pineta San Vitale and Pialassa della Baiona
Italy Ortazzo and Ortazzino
Italy Cervia saltpans
Italy Manfredonia Gulf wetlands
Italy Le Cesine
Italy Oristano wetlands
Italy Cagliari wetlands
Italy Simeto mouth and middle course and Biviere di Lentini
Italy Pantani di Vendicari e di Capo Passero
Italy Palmas Gulf wetlands
Romania Lake Beibugeac (Plopu)
Romania Black Sea
Denmark Vadehavet (Wadden Sea)
Denmark Mandø
Denmark Skallingen and Langli
Denmark Rømø
Denmark Fanø
Germany Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park
Germany Pinneberg Elbe lowlands
Germany Elbe marshes between Stade and Otterndorf
Germany Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park
Ethiopia Abijatta - Shalla Lakes National Park
Ghana Keta Lagoon Ramsar Site
Guinea-Bissau Arquipélago dos Bijagós
Kenya Tana River Delta
Kenya Lake Nakuru National Park
Morocco Barrage al Massira
Mali Lac Débo - Lac Oualado Débo
Mauritania Banc d'Arguin National Park
Mauritania Aftout es Sâheli
Senegal Parc National de la Langue de Barbarie
Senegal Delta du Saloum
Tunisia Sebkhet Kelbia
Tunisia Salines de Thyna
Tunisia Îles Kneiss
Tanzania Lake Manyara
Tanzania Serengeti National Park
Tanzania Lake Kitangire
Tanzania Nyumba ya Mungu reservoir
Tanzania Rufiji Delta
Tanzania Singida lakes
Uganda Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake George
Uganda Lutembe Bay
Afghanistan Ab-i-Istada
Iraq Khawr Abdallah
Iran, Islamic Republic of Gori Gol
Iran, Islamic Republic of Lake Uromiyeh
Iran, Islamic Republic of Shur Gol, Yadegarlu and Dorgeh Sangi lakes
Iran, Islamic Republic of Gordeh Git and Mamiyand
Iran, Islamic Republic of Miankaleh Peninsula and Gorgan Bay
Iran, Islamic Republic of Gomishan marshes and Turkoman steppes
Iran, Islamic Republic of Lashgarak and Latian dam
Iran, Islamic Republic of Shadegan marshes and tidal mudflats of Khor-al Amaya and Khor Musa
Iran, Islamic Republic of Hamoun-i Sabari and Hamoun-i Hirmand
Iran, Islamic Republic of Hilleh Protected Area
Iran, Islamic Republic of Bushire Bay
Iran, Islamic Republic of Monde Protected Area
Iran, Islamic Republic of Nakhilu, Morghu and Ummal Karam islands
Iran, Islamic Republic of Khouran Straits
Iran, Islamic Republic of Rud-i-Gaz and Rud-i-Hara deltas
Iran, Islamic Republic of Bahu Kalat (Gandu) Protected Area
Kuwait Ad-Doha Nature Reserve
Kuwait Sulaibikhat Bay
Oman Quriyat - Daghmar
Oman Ras al Hadd
Oman Barr al Hikman
Oman Duqm
Saudi Arabia Abu Ali
Saudi Arabia Tarut Bay
Saudi Arabia Madinat Yanbu al-Sinaiyah
Saudi Arabia Jiddah south corniche and port
Saudi Arabia Malaki dam
Saudi Arabia Jizan Bay
Saudi Arabia Farasan Islands
United Arab Emirates Ramtha lagoons
Yemen Aden
Germany Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park (includes the Halligs, Kniepsand/Amrum, Lister Koog, Rantumbecken, Rickelsb
Italy Gargano Promontory and Capitanata Wetlands
Italy Sinis and Oristano wetlands
Philippines Manila Bay
Mexico Delta del Río Colorado
Vietnam Thai Thuy
Russia (European) Yashaltinskiye lakes
Russia (European) Lake Ayke
Russia (European) Lysyi Liman lake and valley of Vostochniy Manych river
Russia (European) Southern part of Chograiski reservoir
Ecuador Lagunas de Ecuasal-Salinas
Ecuador Ciénaga de La Segua
Ecuador Humedales de Pacoa
China (mainland) Dongzhaigang
Malaysia North-central Selangor coast
Malaysia Pulau Bruit National Park
India Kole Wetland
Russia (European) Novotroitskoye reservoir
Russia (European) Ptichi (Birds) Island
Russia (European) Ptich'ye (Bird's) Lake
Jamaica Yallahs
Bulgaria Galata
Colombia Parque Nacional Natural Sanquianga
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) Fish Ponds and Crossing Place Trail, Middle Caicos
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) North, Middle and East Caicos Ramsar Site
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) East Caicos and adjacent areas
Cuba Humedal Sur de Sancti Spiritus
Cuba Cayo Sabinal, Ballenatos y Manglares de la Bahía de Nuevitas
Bahamas Great Inagua
Bahamas Harrold and Wilson Ponds National Park
Bahamas Grog Pond
St Vincent and the Grenadines Ashton Wetland
Kazakhstan Sorbulak Lake System
Paraguay Parque Nacional Tinfunqué - Estero Patiño
Bahamas Southern Great Lake
Bahamas Cat Island Wetlands
Uzbekistan Kagan Fish Farm
Kazakhstan Kamysh-Samarskie Lakes
Turkmenistan Goyungyrlan
Turkmenistan Sarygamysh
Kazakhstan Korgalzhyn State Nature Reserve
Virgin Islands (to USA) Southgate and Green Cay
Virgin Islands (to USA) Great Pond
Kazakhstan Lesser Aral Sea
Russia (European) Kurnikov liman
Turkmenistan Ogurjaly island
Kazakhstan Lake Alakol Islands
Russia (European) Kozinka lake and Baranikovski segment of Manych
Honduras Laguna Caratasca
Romania Danube Delta
Cyprus Akrotiri Peninsula - Episkopi Cliffs
Australia Lake Sylvester System
Australia Goyder Lagoon
Australia Mandora Marsh and Anna Plains
USA Chenier Plain
Ecuador Humedales de Pacoa - Marine
Ecuador Lagunas de Ecuasal-Salinas - Marine
Colombia Gorgona National Natural Park / Parque Nacional Natural Sanquianga - Marine
Malaysia North-central Selangor coast - Marine
China (mainland) Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve - Marine
Mauritania Aftout es Sâheli - Marine
Senegal Parc National de la Langue de Barbarie - marine
Cuba Sancti Spiritus Southern Wetland - Marine
Bahamas Southern Great Lake - Marine
Philippines Manila Bay - Marine
Tanzania Lake Balangida Lelu
Syria Sabkhat al-Jabboul
Mexico Laguna Cuyutlán-Estero Palo Verde
Mexico Laguna Potosí
Mexico Lago de Texcoco
Mexico Lagunas del Playón de Mismaloya
Mexico Sistema Lagunar Superior-Inferior
Mexico Geotérmica Cerro Prieto
Mexico Bahía Lechuguilla
Mexico Sistema Lagunario Huizache - Caimanero
Mexico Marismas Nacionales
Italy Punta Alberete, Canna Valley, San Vitale Pinewood, and Pialassa of Baiona
Guinea-Bissau Arquipélago dos Bijagós - marine
Mauritania Lac de Mâl
Mauritania Lac d'Aleg
Brazil Mangue Seco
Russia (European) Burukshunskiye limans
Kazakhstan Tuzkol Lake
Mauritania Chott Boul
Guinea-Bissau Rio Mansôa and Gêba estuary
Guinea-Bissau Ilha de Bolama - Rio Grande de Buba
Guinea-Bissau Cantanhez forests
Senegal Kalissaye Avifaunal Reserve
Mauritania Diawling National Park
Mexico Bahía Santa María
Mexico Istmo de Tehuantepec - Mar Muerto
Mexico Morros de Potosí
Mexico Bahía Magdalena-Almejas
Mexico Complejo Lagunar Ojo de Liebre

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Artificial/Aquatic - Irrigated Land (includes irrigation channels) suitable breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Artificial/Aquatic - Irrigated Land (includes irrigation channels) suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Artificial/Aquatic - Water Storage Areas (over 8ha) major breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Artificial/Aquatic - Water Storage Areas (over 8ha) major non-breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes suitable breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes suitable non-breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Freshwater Lakes suitable breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Freshwater Lakes suitable non-breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Sand Dunes major breeding
Marine Intertidal Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, Etc major breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic marginal resident
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls) suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Altitude 0 - 100 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Human intrusions & disturbance Recreational activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Causing/Could cause fluctuations Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species disturbance, Reduced reproductive success
Human intrusions & disturbance Work & other activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Causing/Could cause fluctuations Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species disturbance, Reduced reproductive success

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Gelochelidon nilotica. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 11/08/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 11/08/2022.