Forster's Tern

Sterna forsteri

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Code 4

FOTE

Code 6

STEFOR

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Forster's Tern has a current evaluation of Least Concern. The range of this bird species is almost 2 million square kilometers. The population of Forster's Tern is about 120,000 individual birds. Forster's Tern is native to the Caribbean, South America and Central America. It is also known to visit portions of Europe as well. This bird was once ranked as Lower Risk, an earlier rating that was downgraded to Least Concern as a result of its range and population size. At this time Forster's Tern is not believed to be facing any immediate dangers.

VOTE: ILLUSTRATION

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SUMMARY

Overview

Forster's Tern: Medium tern, pale gray upperparts, black cap, white underparts. Bill is orange, black tip. Wings are pale gray with paler primaries. Tail is pale gray, deeply forked with dark inner edge, white outer edge. Orange legs, feet. Hovers above water before diving for prey.


Range and Habitat North America

Forster's Tern: Breeds along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and in interior British Columbia and California east to the Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic states. Spends winters along the coasts from California and Virginia southward. In the west, prefers freshwater marshes, whereas in the east, prefers salt marshes.


Range and Habitat Hawaii


Range and Habitat Palau

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INTERESTING FACTS

  • Forster's Tern is the only tern restricted almost entirely to North America throughout the year.
  • They breed in marshes near Black Terns. Wandering semi-precocial young may account for observations of each species feeding the other's young.
  • This bird is named after the naturalist Johann Reinhold Forster.
  • A group of terns are collectively known as a "ternery" or a "U" of terns.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION



SONGS AND CALLS

Xeno-Canto Sound

Forster's Tern A1

  • Title: Forster's Tern A1
  • Recordist: Andrew Spencer
  • Description: "Tik" calls from an adult.
  • Location: CA
  • Date: "07/19/2016"

Forster's Tern A2

  • Title: Forster's Tern A2
  • Recordist: Andrew Spencer
  • Description: Calls from a pair of birds.
  • Location: CA
  • Date: "07/19/2016"

Forster's Tern C1

  • Title: Forster's Tern C1
  • Recordist: Paul Marvin
  • Description: Harsh calls from a young bird.
  • Location: FL
  • Date: "07/19/2016"

Forster's Tern C2

  • Title: Forster's Tern C2
  • Recordist: Paul Marvin
  • Description: "Keer" calls given while feeding in freshwater marsh.
  • Location: FL
  • Date: "07/19/2016"

Forster's Tern C3

  • Title: Forster's Tern C3
  • Recordist: Paul Marvin
  • Description: "Grrr" and "tik" calls from a bird in flight.
  • Location: KS
  • Date: "07/19/2016"

Voice Text

"ki-arr", "za-a-ap", "zrurrr", "beep"

Vocalization

Forster's Tern: Call is a harsh, nasal "beep."

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Artist

Yury Lisyak

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
CapX
The area on top of the head of the bird.
PrimariesX
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
Lower mandibleX
The lower part of the bill.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X