Nesting habitat includes sparsely vegetated river sandbars, sandpits, and reservoir beaches. Nesting habitat includes sparsely vegetated river sandbars, sandpits, and reservoir beaches. Bull, J. The smallest of American terns, the Least Tern is found nesting on sandy beaches along the southern coasts of the United States and up the major river systems far into the interior of the continent. considered a Species of Special Concern in. In the Western Hemisphere it breeds on the Pacific Coast from Central California to Peru; inland along the Colorado, Red, Rio Grande, Missouri, and Mississippi river systems; on the Atlantic Coast from Maine to Argentina; and along the Great Lakes in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio. Wildlife Monographs 132. One study found population numbers on Long Island increased by 49% from 1974 to 1997 but a different analysis method demonstrated a decline since 1983 (Brown et al. 1974. Description. . Populations can be found along the Pacific Coast of California and Mexico, along many of the interior rivers, and along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Least terns breed in North America, as well as locally in the north of South America. Breeding status and distribution of the least tern in the Florida Keys. Least terns travel four miles or more (6+ km) from their colony seeking the small fish that from a large part of their diet. Both parents build nests, take part in incubating the eggs over a period of 20-22 days, and look after the young. Breeding Range: Interior Least Terns' breeding range stretches across the interior of the United States along the Mississippi, Missouri, and Rio Grande Rivers and their tributaries. Distribution and numbers The least tern is a migratory species with inland populations that historically bred along the Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas, Ohio, Red, and Rio Grande river systems and rivers of central Texas (Sidle and Harrison 1990). Least terns can reach a length between 8.3-9.1 inches (21-23 centimeters) with a wingspan of 21-23 inches (53-58 centimeters) (Thompson et al., 1997). This species for most states in North America is classified as either threatened, endangered, or of concern, due to loss of nesting habitat, the interior population having been federally listed since 1985 as endangered. Maine’s beaches are used by tens of thousands of visitors annually during the least tern nesting … The least tern has a nearly worldwide distribution. One to three eggs are laid, of a buff or pale green color with dark blotches. Survey of California least tern nesting sites. Least Tern Photo: Donald Mullaney . Massachusetts, and continued management of nesting. Although breeding distribution along the Texas coast is similar on the TBBA map and that in Oberholser (1974), the latter shows far fewer records along the Red River, suggesting population growth there. The birds breed in many areas of the United States and winter mainly along the coast of northern South America, including the coasts of Brazil to Colombia. Its small size—not quite the size of a robin—yellow bill, and triangular white patch on its forehead distinguish it from other terns found in North Carolina. (1988). This species winters from the Gulf Coast and Central America south to Peru … This species is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Some parts of this site work best with JavaScript enabled. Patagial tagging has been shown to cause a highly significant increase in nest desertation (Brubeck et al. 2. The listed population included only those least terns that breed and nest within the boundary of the continental United States on interior rivers and other water bodies. The least tern is a species of tern that breeds in North America and locally in northern South America. California Dept. This preference coincides with humans’ most. Craig, A. M. 1971. data; Kushlan and White 1985) and suggests that the Least Tern breeding population along the mainline Keys has remained relatively stable during the past 10-15 years. Distribution Least Tern has a wide but fragmented breeding distribution in North America. The least tern is the smallest tern in North America. Other close relatives include the yellow-billed tern and Peruvian tern, both from South America. As its name implies, the Least Tern is the smallest of the terns of the Americas; species like the Inca Tern are strikingly different. Least terns primarily feed on small fish. Colloquially known as the “little striker” for its headlong dives in pursuit of fish, the Least Tern is, as its name suggests, North America’s smallest tern. According to the New Mexico Avian Conservation Partners resource, the breeding population of the Least tern in North America numbers 60,000-100,000 and the population in New Mexico consists of only several breeding pairs. But on sunny days hot tar amongst the gravel can burn chicks’ feet or get stuck in their down. The endangered Interior Least Tern (Sterna antillarum athalassos) breeds inland along the Missouri, Mississippi, Colorado, Arkansas, Red, and Rio Grande River systems. It is a small tern, 22–24 cm long, with a wingspan of 50 cm, and weighing 39–52 g. The upper parts are a fairly uniform pale gray, and the underparts white. Males and females appear identical with a black crown, white forehead, gray back, gray wings above with white below, orange legs and a black-tipped yellow bill. Information on habitat protection and management was obtained from NHFG Piping Plover monitoring data. Least Terns from the United States are known to winter as far south as the northern coast of South America. Winter Range: Not a lot is known about Least Terns' winter range, but they are known to winter primarily in marine coastal areas of the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and Atlantic Ocean. Although preferring sandy beaches for their nests, they will occasionally use a flat, gravel-covered rooftop instead. We now think the tern should be listed as "threatened." Close Kirsch 1996). Over 2/3 of Maine’s 30 miles of beaches have been lost as nesting habitat for least terns because of construction of jetties, seawalls, and high-density housing. Close Sidle et al. Currently, the Least Tern is. Today Interior Least Terns nest along portions of the Missouri, Platte, Niobrara, Loup, and Elkhorn Rivers. 1981), likely to cause a loss of reproductive success through late-nesting birds experiencing lower hatching success due to predation (Mendillo 2009). Unlock thousands of full-length species accounts and hundreds of bird family overviews when you subscribe to Birds of the World. They will fly up into the air when alarmed, making an alarm call, and dive repeatedly at the intruder. The downy chicks hatch with their eyes open and can walk soon after. The Least tern, as its name suggests, is the smallest of the Americas’ terns. Doubleday/Natural History Press, Garden City, New York. The Birds of North America web site has excellent distribution information, annual membership required.. Visit the eBird web site to report sightings of the American Goldfinch and to view current and some historical information on a state-by-state basis. The interior least tern (Sterna antillarum athalassos) is the smallest member of the gull and tern family, measuring 8-9 inches long and having a 20-inch wingspread. They winter mainly along northern South America’s coast, including Brazil to Colombia. Inside least terns traditionally nested alongside sand and gravel bars of the Decrease Mississippi River and its main tributaries, together with Missouri, Purple, Ohio, and Arkansas rivers. Usually hovers before plunging into water for tiny prey; does more hovering than most terns. Endangered. The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). Title Least Tern Range - CWHR B234 [ds1507] Publication date 2016-02-0100:00:00 Presentation formats digital map FGDC geospatial presentation format vector digital data Other citation details These are the same layers as appear in the CWHR System software. In breeding plumage both sexes have a black cap and nape, white forehead, grayish back and wings, snowy white underparts, orange legs, and a black-tipped orange-yellow bill. The smallest of American terns, the Least Tern is found nesting on sandy beaches along the southern coasts of the United States and up the major river systems far into the interior of the continent. Least terns are carnivores, they mostly eat small fish, like smelt, anchovy, surfperch and silversides (ray-finned fish), and also crabs, shrimp, barnacles, krill and some insects. Least tern is ranked as Vulnerable in New York and as Imperiled in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Overall, currently Least terns are classified as Least Concern (LC), however, their numbers today are decreasing. Historically, the Least Tern probably was not an abundant nester in the Florida Keys. Least Terns are common summer residents along the coast and rare to locally uncommon at scattered locations inland (Lockwood and Freeman 2004). Interior Least Terns breed in the interior of North America, primarily along major river systems, although these … On May 28, 1985, we published a final rule in the Federal Register (50 FR 21784) listing the Interior least tern as endangered, due to the low numbers and scattered distribution of the tern and to threats to the bird's breeding habitat. This species lives and nests in colonies, parents within a colony defending their nesting territory against intruders. It is a rare visitant elsewhere in New York. Least terns fly over water to forage, hovering then plunging to catch prey that are just below the water's surface. Range: Interior least terns breed in isolated areas along the Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, Red, and Rio Grande river systems. Least terns prefer a sandy beach for nesting, but will use a building’s flat gravel roof. A group of these birds is called a "straightness" of terns. Distribution. Sometimes they will dip down to pick up prey from the surface of the water or from land, and they may catch insects on the wing. 1988, Kirsch, E. M. (1996). 55 pp. They favor open habitat and are typically found near any bodies of water, such as sea coasts, gravel and shell and beaches, islands, bays, lakes, lagoons, estuaries, unobstructed river channels, and salt flats that are associated with reservoirs and rivers. During extremely hot weather, a parent tern may soak its belly in water and then drip the cooling water onto their eggs or chicks. Distribution of the Least Tern in interior North America. In 1991, w… Groups of them often hover near the surface of the water with their quick, flickering wing beats, catching small fish and invertebrates. Fish and Game, Project W54R-4. They inhabit coasts and oceans of every single continent on earth, including Antarctica. Populations are increasing in New Jersey and Massachusetts but declining in Connecticut. Least tern is a common local breeder and a common to abundant migrant on Long Island. Least Tern on The IUCN Red List site -,, The call of the least tern is a high-pitched “zeep", "zreep,” or “kit.”. Male least terns engage in a unique courtship ritual which involves a male offering a female food in the hope of her choosing him as a mate. This is to let people give us reasons why they agree or disagree.The species' population has increased from 600 in 1973 to roughl… desired spots for recreation and development, resulting. They nest on river sandbars, reservoirs, lakeshore housing developments, and sand and gravel mines (more information can be found about these nesting habitats under the monitoring and research tab). Breeding Range: Interior Least Terns' breeding range stretches across the interior of the United States along the Mississippi, Missouri, and Rio Grande Rivers and their tributaries. Information based on reports from birders in In Nebraska: Interior Least Terns were once found in Nebraska throughout the major river systems, but their range has been reduced because of habitat loss. In fact, various species breed on every continent. When they are a few days old, they move nearby to short vegetation. Conference, UNL web framework and quality assurance provided by the, Nebraska Non-game & Endangered Species Conservation Act, Management, Conservation and Recovery on the Lower Platte River. Habitat selection and productivity of Least Terns on the lower Platte River, Nebraska. Winter Range: Not a lot is known about Least Terns' winter range, but they are known to winter … They also plunge-dive, as do other terns, hovering above their prey and then suddenly dropping into the sea. 2001). Migrants mainly occur on Long Island's outer coast and rarely on the lower Hudson River. That would mean we are concerned about it, but we don't think it is about to go extinct. Populations of this bird are endangered in many regions due to human impact on nesting areas, particularly competition for the use of beaches. Nests are just shallow scrapes in open sand, pebbles or soil, sometimes lined with grasses or pebbles. Distribution. The Least Tern is vulnerable to human disturbance. Least terns are widespread and are common in places, but the nesting habit they prefer is sought after for residential development, human recreation, and alteration by the diversion of water, which interferes with nesting in many areas. habitat in the past century. Interior Least Tern: Distribution. We have to go through a legal process(45 KB PDF) to make the change. American Birds 42:195-201. Ten There are many different species of Terns, with different ranges and distributions. The least tern is largely distributed in North America. They winter along coastal areas of Central and South America and the Caribbean Islands, but not a lot is known about their wintering areas. The Avian Knowledge Network collects data from thousands of locations and multiple data sets.. The California Least Tern (Sterna antillarum browni), federally listed as endangered since 1970, breeds along the Pacific coast from central California to southern Baja California. However, Least Terns in some parts of the east are now nesting successfully on gravel roofs near the coast. Casey A Lott, 1 Robert L Wiley, 2 Richard A Fischer, 3 Paul D Hartfield, 4 and J Michael Scott 5 Data Quality All the combined species, and even some individual species alone, have worldwide distribution. That said, in the east in some areas near the coast these terns are now successfully nesting on gravel roofs. Although these subspecies are generally recognized, recent … Interior Least Tern (Sternula antillarum) breeding distribution and ecology: implications for population-level studies and the evaluation of alternative management strategies on large, regulated rivers. Birds of New York state. Each species account is written by leading ornithologists and provides detailed information on bird distribution, migration, habitat, diet, sounds, behavior, breeding, current population status, and conservation. Least terns breed in North America, as well as locally in the north of South America. The breeding range extended from Least terns have long pointed wings and a deeply forked tail. Distribution of the Tern. Florida Field Nat. 17:61-66. in conflicts of use and loss of considerable Least Tern. It is closely related to, and was formerly often considered conspecific with, the little tern of the Old World. April to August is the main period for breeding and birds usually remain within the breeding territory between 3 and 5 months. The smallest tern in North America, the Least Tern is a familiar yet slowly declining breeding species in coastal areas, as well as along the Mississippi and other large inland rivers. They may feed near to the shore of the open ocean - particularly near bay mouths or lagoons. They start to fly when they are just under 3 weeks old, and may stay with their parents for as long as 3 months. These birds are serially monogamous, pairs staying together for the entirety of the breeding season. About the Big Terns are treated as a subgroup of the family Laridae which includes gulls and skimmers and consist of eleven genera. Least terns are the smallest of the terns, measuring 8-9 in (20-22 cm) in length and having a 20 in (50 cm) wingspread. Populations are endangered in many areas because of human impacts on nesting areas, especially competition for use of beaches. Terns are seabirds in the family Laridae that have a worldwide distribution and are normally found near the sea, rivers, or wetlands. The defense behavior of adult Least terns when an intruder enters the nesting area, has earned them the name of “little striker.” They will dive bomb and defecate on intruders. Information on least tern habitat, population distribution and status was collected from scientific literature, least tern management plans and New Hampshire Fish and Game data. Colonies occur locally along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. The color of the Least tern’s bill, when it is ready to breed, is yellow and has a black tip, changing to a dull yellow-orange or a dusky gray or blackish at other times. During the breeding season, typically they will forage close to the location of their nesting area. They winter mainly along northern South America’s coast, including Brazil to Colombia. On October 19, 1990, we released a recovery plan for the Interior population of the least tern (Service 1990). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern. Least Terns declined in distribution in New York from 87 blocks in the first atlas (1980-85) to 69 blocks in the second (2000-2005) a reduction of 21% (McGowan and Corwin 2008).

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