Little Tern

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(Redirected from Least Tern)
Little Tern
Least tern
Least Tern (North American form)
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Charadriiformes
Family:Sternidae
Genus:Sterna
Species:S. albifrons
Binomial name
Sterna albifrons
Pallas, 1764

The Little Tern (Sterna albifrons) is a seabird of the tern family Sternidae. The North American race, S. a. antillarum, is sometimes considered a separate species, Least Tern, Sterna antillarum.

This bird breeds on the coasts and inland waterways of temperate and tropical Europe, Asia and North America. It is strongly migratory, wintering in the subtropical and tropical oceans as far south as Peru and Brazil (Least Tern), South Africa and Australia.

This species breeds in colonies on gravel or shingle coasts and islands. It lays two to four eggs on the ground. Like all white terns, it is defensive of its nest and young and will attack intruders.

Like all Sterna terns, Little Tern feeds by plunge-diving for fish, usually from saline environments. The offering of fish by the male to the female is part of the courtship display.

This is a small tern, not likely to be confused with other species because of its size and white forehead in breeding plumage. Its thin sharp bill is yellow with a black tip and its legs are also yellow. In winter, the forehead is more extensively white, the bill is black and the legs duller. The call is a loud and distinctive creaking noise.

In the United States, the interior population of the least tern was listed as an endangered species in 1985, due to loss of habitat caused by dams, reservoirs, channelization, and other changes to river systems.de:Zwergseeschwalbe ja:コアジサシ nl:Dwergstern pl:Rybitwa białoczelna fi:Pikkutiira

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