Bird of the Week, September 30, 2011
Least Tern

Least Tern by Luke Seitz


The Least Tern is the smallest tern in the Americas. In breeding plumage, it sports a black cap ending at a white forehead, and a short, white eye stripe. Its bill is yellow with a black tip.


For successful breeding, the Least Tern requires open, undisturbed beaches, coastal flats, islands, or river sandbars.  Unfortunately, these habitats are also prime areas for human recreation, residential development, and alteration by water diversion, which interfere with successful nesting in many areas.


ABC has worked with diverse partners, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to improve Least Tern habitat and monitoring. ABC organized the first ever range-wide population survey of the Interior Least Tern, and has helped develop habitat management recommendations for coastal and riverine populations including sandbar creation and restoration, which can be an effective tool to increase least tern nesting. Learn more about how ABC’s work on the Least Tern.


Support ABC's efforts to preserve this and other waterbirds!

Photo: Least Tern by Luke Seitz; Range Map: NatureServe