Least Tern

About the Least Tern

Also known as: Brown's Tern, Little Tern

The Least Tern is a small species of tern that lives in the Americas. Most breed in parts of North America; they are migratory and spend the winter in southern North America, Central America, and northern South America.

Least Terns eat a diet of mostly fish. They hunt by hovering on the wing until prey is found. They plunge into the water to capture prey items.

The population trend for the Least Tern is decreasing, but because of its widespread range the conservation status is Least Concern as of June 2013. In the United States, the Least Tern is listed as threatened or otherwise a species of concern in most states, primarily due to loss of breeding habitat.

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Details & Statistics

Added to Birdorable
Hatched on 02 July 2013
Scientific Name
Sternula antillarum
  • Charadriiformes
  • Sternidae
  • Sternula
  • S. antillarum
Birdorable Family
Conservation Status
Least Concern (as of 5 April 2020)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
Units: Imperial / Metric
8.3 to 9.1 inches
18.9 to 20.9 inches
1.1 to 1.6 ounces

International Names

Brazilian (Português brasileiro) Trinta-réis-miúdo
Chinese (汉语) 小白额燕鸥
Czech (Cesky) rybák nejmenší
Danish (Dansk) Lille Terne
Dutch (Nederlands) Amerikaanse Dwergstern
Finnish (Suomi) amerikanpikkutiira
French (Français) Petite Sterne
German (Deutsch) Amerikanische Zwergseeschwalbe
Italian (Italiano) Fraticello americano
Japanese (日本語) アメリカコアジサシ [amerikakoajisashi]
Korean (한국어) 쇠제비갈매기
Norwegian (Norsk) Amerikadvergterne
Polish (Polski) rybitwa mala
Russian (русский язык) Калифорнийская крачка
Spanish (Español) Charrancito Americano
Swedish (Svenska) Amerikansk småtärna
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Least Tern Coloring Page

The Least Tern is a small species of New World tern. These migratory birds feed on a diet of mostly fish. During breeding season it is recognized by its small size, black ... more