LC
Little Tern Sternula albifrons



Taxonomy

Taxonomic note
Sternula albifrons (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: #http://www.aerc.eu/DOCS/Bird_taxa_of _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.
Turbott, E.G. 1990. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.

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
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 57 g
Extent of occurrence (EOO)

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 279,000,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 152,000,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -
Population and trend
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor estimated 2012
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 - - -
Largest subpopulations - - -
Generation length (yrs) 10.9 - - -

Population justification: The global population is estimated to number c.190,000-410,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2015). The European population is estimated at 36,000-53,000 pairs, which equates to 71,900-106,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). National population estimates include: c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration in China; c.100-10,000 breeding pairs, c.50-1,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in Taiwan; c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.50-1,000 individuals on migration in Korea and c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.50-1,000 individuals on migration in Japan (Brazil 2009).

Trend justification: The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations have unknown or increasing trends (Wetlands International 2015). In Europe, the population size trend is unknown (BirdLife International 2015).


Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Afghanistan N Extant Yes
Albania N Extant Yes
Algeria N Extant
Angola V Extant
Armenia N Extant Yes
Australia N Extant Yes
Austria N Extant Yes
Azerbaijan N Extant Yes
Bahrain N Extant Yes Yes
Bangladesh N Extant
Belarus N Extant Yes
Belgium N Extant Yes
Benin N Extant
Bosnia and Herzegovina N Extant
British Indian Ocean Territory N Extant
Brunei N Extant
Bulgaria N Extant Yes
Burkina Faso V Extant
Burundi N Extant
Cambodia N Extant
Cameroon N Extant
Cape Verde V Extant
Chad N Extant
China (mainland) N Extant
Colombia V Extant
Congo N Extant
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the N Extant
Côte d'Ivoire N Extant
Croatia N Extant Yes
Cyprus N Extant Yes
Czechia N Extant Yes
Denmark N Extant Yes Yes
Djibouti N Extant
Egypt N Extant Yes
Equatorial Guinea N Extant
Eritrea N Extant
Estonia N Extant Yes
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) V Extant
Fiji V Extant Yes
Finland N Extant Yes Yes
France N Extant Yes Yes
Gabon N Extant
Gambia N Extant
Georgia N Extant Yes
Germany N Extant Yes Yes
Ghana N Extant
Gibraltar (to UK) N Extant
Greece N Extant Yes Yes
Guam (to USA) N Extant Yes
Guinea N Extant Yes
Guinea-Bissau N Extant
Hong Kong (China) N Extant
Hungary N Extant Yes
India N Extant
Indonesia N Extant
Iran, Islamic Republic of N Extant Yes Yes
Iraq N Extant Yes
Ireland N Extant Yes
Israel N Extant Yes
Italy N Extant Yes
Japan N Extant
Jordan N Extant Yes Yes
Kazakhstan N Extant Yes
Kenya N Extant
Kiribati V Extant
Kuwait N Extant Yes Yes
Kyrgyzstan N Extant Yes
Laos N Extant
Latvia N Extant Yes
Lebanon V Extant Yes
Liberia N Extant
Libya N Extant
Lithuania N Extant Yes Yes
Luxembourg V Extant
Malaysia N Extant Yes
Maldives V Extant
Mali N Extant
Malta V Extant
Marshall Islands N Extant Yes
Mauritania N Extant
Mauritius N Extant
Micronesia, Federated States of N Extant Yes
Moldova N Extant Yes
Mongolia N Extant Yes
Montenegro N Extant Yes
Morocco N Extant
Mozambique N Extant
Myanmar N Extant
Namibia V Extant
Nepal N Extant
Netherlands N Extant Yes
New Caledonia (to France) V Extant
New Zealand N Extant
Niger N Extant
Nigeria N Extant
North Korea N Extant Yes
North Macedonia N Extant Yes
Northern Mariana Islands (to USA) N Extant Yes
Norway N Extant Yes
Oman N Extant Yes
Pakistan N Extant
Palau N Extant Yes
Palestinian Authority Territories N Extant Yes
Papua New Guinea N Extant Yes
Philippines N Extant
Poland N Extant Yes
Portugal N Extant Yes
Qatar N Extant Yes
Romania N Extant Yes Yes
Russia N Extant Yes Yes
Russia (Asian) N Extant Yes
Russia (Central Asian) N Extant Yes
Russia (European) N Extant Yes Yes
Samoa V Extant
Saudi Arabia N Extant Yes
Senegal N Extant Yes
Serbia N Extant Yes
Seychelles V Extant
Sierra Leone V Extant
Singapore N Extant
Slovakia N Extant Yes
Slovenia N Extant Yes
Solomon Islands N Extant
Somalia N Extant
South Africa N Extant
South Korea N Extant
Spain N Extant Yes Yes
Sri Lanka N Extant
Sudan U Extant
Sweden N Extant Yes
Switzerland N Extant
Syria N Extant Yes Yes
Taiwan, China N Extant
Tajikistan N Extant Yes
Tanzania N Extant
Thailand N Extant
Timor-Leste N Extant Yes
Togo N Extant
Tunisia N Extant
Turkey N Extant Yes
Turkmenistan N Extant Yes
Ukraine N Extant Yes Yes
United Arab Emirates N Extant Yes Yes
United Kingdom N Extant Yes
USA V Extant
Uzbekistan N Extant Yes
Vietnam N Extant
Western Sahara N Extant
Yemen V Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Albania Karavasta Lagoon
Belarus Dniepr floodplain Lojeŭ-Žary
Belarus Mid Prypiac'
Belarus Prypiackija baloty
Belgium Voorhaven Zeebrugge and Baai van Heist
Bulgaria Atanasovsko Lake
Bulgaria Durankulak Lake
Bulgaria Emine
Bulgaria Mandra-Poda complex
Bulgaria Pomorie Lake
Bulgaria Shabla Lake Complex
China (mainland) Desert and wetland from Northern Urumqi to Dabancheng
China (mainland) Oasis, Desert and Wetland at Mosuowan
China (mainland) Ulungur Hu and Jili Hu (Fu Hai)
Croatia North Part of Zadar Archipelago
Croatia Sava River Near Hruscica
Croatia Upper Drava River
Denmark Fanø
Denmark Islands and coast between Skælskør Fjord and Glænø
Denmark Skallingen and Langli
Denmark South Læsø
Denmark Vadehavet (Wadden Sea)
Egypt Lake Bardawil
Egypt Lake Burullus
Egypt Lake Manzala
Estonia Kahtla-Kübassaare
Estonia Kolga bay
Estonia Pärnu bay (NEW)
Estonia Siiksaare-Oessaare bays
Estonia Väinameri
France Archipel de Molène
France Baie des Veys et Marais du Cotentin
France Camargue
France Cap Gris-nez
France Cordon lagunaire de Sète à Agde
France Estuaires du Trieux et du Jaudy
France Etangs de Leucate et Lapalme
France Etangs de Vendres, Pissevache et Lespignan
France Etangs Montpellierains
France Etangs Narbonnais
France Ile de Goulmedec
France Littoral Augeron
France Marais entre Crau et Grand Rhône: Meyranne, Chanoine, Plan de Bourg et Salins du Caban
France Petite Camargue laguno-marine
France Salines de l'Etang de Berre
France Salins d'Hyères et de Pesquiers
France Val d'Allier Bourbonnais
France Vallée de la Loire : de Nantes à Montsoreau
France Vallée de la Loire : environs de Blois
France Vallée de la Loire : environs de Montlouis-sur-Loire
France Vallée de la Loire : La Charité-sur-Loire
France Vallée de la Loire : Orléanais
France Vallée de la Loire: Pit majeur d'Iguerande à Décize
Gambia Tanji River (Karinti) Bird Reserve
Germany Coast and lagoons of Western Pomerania
Germany Coastline of Probstei
Germany Drennhauser Hinterdeich
Germany Elbe marshes between Stade and Otterndorf
Germany Greifswalder Bodden
Germany Heerter See
Germany Lower Oder valley
Germany Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park
Germany Sagasbank and eastern coast of Oldenburg
Germany Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park (includes the Halligs, Kniepsand/Amrum, Lister Koog, Rantumbecken, Rickelsb
Germany Wagbach lowlands
Germany Wismar bay and Salzhaff
Ghana Densu Delta Ramsar Site and vicinity
Ghana Keta Lagoon Ramsar Site
Ghana Songor Ramsar Site
Greece Alyki Kitrous lagoon
Greece Amvrakikos gulf
Greece Axios, Loudias and Aliakmonas rivers' deltas
Greece Evros delta
Greece Kalamas delta
Greece Mesolongi and Aitoliko lagoons, Acheloos delta and Evinos estuary
Greece Nestos delta and coastal lagoons
Greece Porto Lagos, lake Vistonida and coastal lagoons
Greece Spercheios valley and delta and Maliakos gulf
Guinea Rio Kapatchez
Hungary Dráva
Iran, Islamic Republic of Gomishan marshes and Turkoman steppes
Iran, Islamic Republic of Hilleh Protected Area
Iran, Islamic Republic of Miankaleh Peninsula and Gorgan Bay
Iran, Islamic Republic of Shadegan marshes and tidal mudflats of Khor-al Amaya and Khor Musa
Iran, Islamic Republic of South Caspian shore, from Astara to Gomishan
Ireland Connemara Islands
Ireland Inishkea Islands
Ireland Magharee Islands, Mucklaghmore and Illaunbarnagh
Ireland North Wicklow coastal marshes
Ireland Tory Island
Ireland Wexford Harbour and Slobs
Israel Carmel coast
Italy Cagliari wetlands
Italy Grado and Marano lagoon
Italy Isonzo mouth, Cona island and Panzano Gulf
Italy Northern Sardinia
Italy Ortazzo and Ortazzino
Italy Palmas Gulf wetlands
Italy Pantani di Vendicari e di Capo Passero
Italy Po Delta
Italy Punte Alberete and Valle della Canna, Pineta San Vitale and Pialassa della Baiona
Italy River Po from Dora Baltea mouth to Scrivia mouth
Italy River Po: from Ticino mouth to Boscone island
Italy Sinis and Oristano wetlands
Italy Valle Bertuzzi and Goro lagoon
Italy Valli di Comacchio and Bonifica del Mezzano
Italy Venice lagoon
Japan Aniva bay / Esashi, Menashidomari / Teurito island - Marine
Japan Lake Hamanako - Marine
Japan Lake Hamanako, Enshunada
Kazakhstan Caspian Sea shore between Volga and Ural River Deltas
Kazakhstan Korgalzhyn State Nature Reserve
Latvia Augsdaugava
Latvia Ovisi
Latvia Piejura
Latvia Randu meadows
Lithuania Nemunas delta regional Park
Lithuania Nemunas River between Pelesiskes & Balbieriskis settlements
Lithuania Nemunas River between Prienai & Lengveniskes settlements
Lithuania Nemunas River between Smalininkai & Kulautuva settlements
Lithuania Visbarai fish-farm
Malaysia Pulau Bruit National Park
Mauritania Aftout es Sâheli
Mozambique Bazaruto Archipelago
Netherlands Duinen en Lage Land Texel
Netherlands Haringvliet
Netherlands Krammer-Volkerak
Netherlands Rottumeroog
Netherlands Westerschelde & Saeftinghe
Palestinian Authority Territories Wadi Gaza
Philippines Buguey wetlands
Poland Lower Bug river valley
Poland Lower Odra river valley
Poland Lower Vistula River Valley
Poland Malopolska Wisla river gap
Poland Middle Vistula River Valley
Poland Pilica River Valley
Poland Puck Bay
Poland Siemianowka Reseirvoir
Poland Swietokrzyskie Vistula River Valley
Poland Turek Site
Poland Vistula river mouth
Portugal Albufeira do Caia
Portugal Castro Marim
Portugal Mondego Estuary
Portugal Ria de Aveiro
Portugal Ria Formosa - Oceânica
Portugal Ria Formosa (Faro lagoon)
Portugal Sado estuary
Portugal Salinas de Alverca e do Forte da Casa
Portugal Santo André and Sancha lagoons
Portugal Tejo estuary
Romania Black Sea
Romania Braţul Borcea
Romania Confluenţa Olt - Dunăre
Romania Danube Delta
Romania Dunăre - Ostroave
Romania Dunărea Veche (Braţul Măcin)
Romania Lake Beibugeac (Plopu)
Romania Lake Bugeac
Romania Limanu - Herghelia
Romania Ostrovu Lung - Gostinu
Russia (Asian) Aniva bay
Russia (Asian) North-east Sakhalin lagoons
Russia (European) Beglitskaya sand-spit
Russia (European) Bulgarski
Russia (European) Dadynskiye lakes
Russia (European) Delta of the River Don
Russia (European) Flood-plain of Algashka river (Kirsko-Algashinskaya)
Russia (European) Flood-plain of Oka river between the mouth of Klyaz'ma river and Dzerzhinsk
Russia (European) Flood-plain of Oka river in Navashinski district
Russia (European) Flood-plain of Volga river between Gorodets and N.Novgorod
Russia (European) Flood-plain of Volga river between N.Novgorod and Pamyat' Parizhskoi Kommuny village
Russia (European) Floodplain of Oka river up-stream of the Murom
Russia (European) Forests and wetlands in the valley of the Nuzhma river
Russia (European) Islands in the western part of Lake Manych-Gudilo
Russia (European) Kamsko-Bakaldinskiye marshes
Russia (European) Kamsko-Ikski area
Russia (European) Khanskoye Lake
Russia (European) Kiziltash limans
Russia (European) Marshes near Pavlovskoye Zaoch'ye and adjoining floodplain of Oka river
Russia (European) Nizhnekamskaya flood-plain
Russia (European) Rybinsk reservoir
Russia (European) Shumerlinskaya
Russia (European) Sulakskaya bay
Russia (European) Sura environs
Russia (European) Upper Mologa river (lake Verestovo)
Russia (European) Yeiski salt-lakes
Russia (European) Zavidovo Reserve, including Lotoshinski, Klinski and Diatlovo fish ponds
Senegal Parc National de la Langue de Barbarie
Senegal Parc National de la Langue de Barbarie - marine
Serbia Donje Podrinje
Slovenia Sečovlje saltpans
South Korea Cheonsu Bay
South Korea Nakdong-gang estuary
South Korea Sihwa-ho lake
Spain Albufera de Valencia marshes
Spain Bahía de Almería
Spain Cádiz bay
Spain Cape Busto-Luanco
Spain Costa da Morte
Spain Ebro delta
Spain El Hondo wetland
Spain Guadalquivir marshes
Spain Isla Cristina and Ayamonte marshes and Prado lagoon
Spain Lácara-Morante
Spain Mar Menor coastal lagoon
Spain Mata and Torrevieja lagoons
Spain Mountain range and saltpans at Cabo de Gata
Spain Odiel and Tinto marshes and Huelva coastal lagoons
Spain Plataforma Marina del Delta del Ebro - Columbretes
Spain River Piedras marshes and Rompido sandbank
Spain Santa Pola salt-pans
Spain Tabarca - Cabo de Palos
Spain Wetlands of western Almería
Sweden Archipelago and coastline of North-East Scania
Sweden Bay of Skälder
Sweden Coastal area (including seaside meadows) of Eastern Öland
Sweden Coastal area of Eastern Gotland
Sweden Falsterbo – Bay of Fote
Sweden Lomma Bight
Turkey Bakırçay Delta
Turkey Ceyhan Delta
Turkey Ereğli Plain
Turkey Gediz Delta
Turkey Göksu Delta
Turkey Meriç Delta
Turkey Seyfe Lake
Turkey Seyhan Delta
Turkey Sultan Marsh
Ukraine Karkinits'ka and Dzharylgats'ka bays
Ukraine Kryva peninsula
Ukraine Kuyal'nyts'kyj lyman
Ukraine Kyivs'ke reservoir
Ukraine Syvash Bay
United Arab Emirates Alqurm Wa Lehfeiyah (Khor Kalba)
United Kingdom Alde - Ore Estuary
United Kingdom Benacre to Easton Bavents
United Kingdom Chesil Beach and the Fleet
United Kingdom Chichester and Langstone Harbours
United Kingdom Dee Estuary
United Kingdom Duddon Estuary
United Kingdom Eden Estuary, Tentsmuir Point and Abertay Sands
United Kingdom Gibraltar Point
United Kingdom Great Yarmouth North Denes
United Kingdom Hamford Water
United Kingdom Humber Estuary
United Kingdom Lindisfarne
United Kingdom Mid-Essex Coast
United Kingdom Minsmere - Walberswick
United Kingdom North Norfolk Coast
United Kingdom North Uist Machair and Islands
United Kingdom Northumbria Coast
United Kingdom Sleibhtean Agus Chladach Thiriodh
United Kingdom Solent Marshes and Southampton Water
United Kingdom South Uist Machair and Lochs
United Kingdom Teesmouth and Cleveland Coast
United Kingdom The Wash
United Kingdom Tiree and Coll
United Kingdom Uists Machairs, Lochs and Coast
United Kingdom Ythan Estuary, Sands of Forvie and Meikle Loch
Uzbekistan Kagan Fish Farm
Uzbekistan Rogatoe Lake
Uzbekistan Zholdyrbas Lake

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Artificial/Aquatic - Salt Exploitation Sites suitable breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Artificial/Aquatic - Salt Exploitation Sites suitable 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 Neritic Estuaries suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic marginal resident
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud suitable non-breeding
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 - 2000 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Unknown Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Reduced reproductive success
Human intrusions & disturbance Recreational activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Species disturbance
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Problematic native species/diseases - Larus novaehollandiae Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Problematic native species/diseases - Vulpes vulpes Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality
Residential & commercial development Housing & urban areas Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion

Utilisation
Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Sternula albifrons. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 14/12/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 14/12/2019.