Lesser Crested Tern Thalasseus bengalensis


Taxonomic note
Thalasseus bengalensis (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Sterna.

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.

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 -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence (breeding/resident) 41,500,000 km2 medium
Extent of Occurrence (non-breeding) 96,100,000 km2 medium
Severely fragmented? no -
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
Population size unknown poor estimated 2009
Population trend stable - suspected -
Generation length 11 years - - -

Trend justification: The overall population trend is stable, although some populations have unknown trends (Delany and Scott 2006).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding visitor Non-breeding visitor Passage migrant
Algeria extant native
Australia extant native yes
Austria extant vagrant
Bahrain extant native yes yes
Bangladesh extant native
British Indian Ocean Territory extant native
Brunei extant native
Cambodia extant vagrant
China (mainland) extant native
Comoros extant native
Djibouti extant native yes
Egypt extant native yes
Eritrea extant native yes
France extant vagrant
French Southern Territories extant uncertain
Gambia extant native
Ghana extant vagrant
Gibraltar (to UK) extant vagrant
Greece extant vagrant
Guinea extant native
Guinea-Bissau extant native
India extant native
Indonesia extant native
Iran, Islamic Republic of extant native yes
Iraq extant native yes
Israel extant native yes
Italy extant native yes
Jordan extant vagrant
Kenya extant native
Kuwait extant native yes
Lebanon extinct native yes
Libya extant native yes
Madagascar extant native yes
Malaysia extant native yes
Maldives extant native yes
Mauritania extant native
Mauritius extant native
Mayotte (to France) extant native
Morocco extant native
Mozambique extant native
Myanmar extant native
Netherlands extant vagrant
Oman extant native yes yes
Pakistan extant native
Palestine extant vagrant yes
Papua New Guinea extant native yes
Philippines extant uncertain
Qatar extant native yes yes
Réunion (to France) extant uncertain
Saudi Arabia extant native yes
Senegal extant vagrant
Seychelles extant native
Singapore extant native
Solomon Islands extant uncertain
Somalia extant native
South Africa extant native
Spain extant native yes
Sri Lanka extant native
Sudan extant native yes
Switzerland extant vagrant
Tanzania extant native
Thailand extant native
Timor-Leste extant native yes
Tunisia extant native
Türkiye extant vagrant
Uganda extant vagrant
United Arab Emirates extant native yes
United Kingdom extant vagrant
Vietnam extant uncertain
Western Sahara extant uncertain
Yemen extant native yes yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Djibouti Les Sept Frères
Egypt Hurghada archipelago
Eritrea Dehalak Archipelago and offshore islands
Kenya Sabaki River Mouth
Kenya Tana River Delta
Libya Bumbah Gulf
Libya Geziret Garah
Morocco Sebkha Bou Areg
Madagascar Cape Anorontany Archipelago NPA
Madagascar Ambavanankarana wetland
Madagascar Sahamalaza - Radama Islands National Marine Park
Madagascar Mahavavy - Kinkony wetlands NPA
Madagascar Baly Bay National Park
Madagascar Tambohorano Wetland NPA
Madagascar Wetlands of the Tsiribihina delta and upper Tsiribihina river
Madagascar Nosy Manitse Future SAPM Marine and surrounding wetlands
Mozambique Greater Bazaruto
Sudan Mukawwar island and Dunganab bay
Sudan Suakin archipelago
Tanzania Dar es Salaam coast
Tanzania Rufiji Delta
Iran, Islamic Republic of Kharku Wildlife Refuge
Iran, Islamic Republic of Nakhilu, Morghu and Ummal Karam islands
Oman Barr al Hikman
Saudi Arabia Gulf of Salwah
Saudi Arabia Gulf coral islands
Saudi Arabia Abu Ali
Malaysia North-central Selangor coast
Thailand Na Muang Krabi
Australia Brook Islands
Australia Cape York to Cape Grenville Islands
Australia Islands North of Port Stewart
Australia Michaelmas Cay
Australia South Barnard Islands
Australia Stapleton Island
Australia Sudbury Reef
India Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park
Yemen Islands north of Al-Hudaydah
United Arab Emirates Dayyinah Island (Diynah)
United Arab Emirates Muhaimat Island
United Arab Emirates Qarnain Island
United Arab Emirates Yasat Island
Guinea-Bissau Arquipélago dos Bijagós
Guinea-Bissau Cantanhez forests

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Intertidal Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, Etc major breeding
Marine Neritic Coral Reef - Back Slope suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Coral Reef - Foreslope (Outer Reef Slope) suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Coral Reef - Inter-Reef Rubble Substrate suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Coral Reef - Inter-Reef Soft Substrate suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Coral Reef - Lagoon suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Coral Reef - Outer Reef Channel suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major breeding
Altitude   Occasional altitudinal limits  

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Thalasseus bengalensis. Downloaded from on 05/12/2023.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 05/12/2023.