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 Sterna nilotica
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2014 Not Recognised
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern

Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type   Average mass 214.69 g

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage Resident
Afghanistan Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Albania Native Extant Yes      
Algeria Native Extant        
Angola Vagrant Extant        
Anguilla (to UK) Unknown Extant        
Antigua and Barbuda Native Extant        
Argentina Native Extant        
Armenia Native Extant Yes      
Aruba (to Netherlands) Native Extant        
Australia Native Extant Yes      
Austria Native Extant     Yes  
Azerbaijan Native Extant Yes      
Bahamas Native Extant        
Bahrain Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Bangladesh Native Extant        
Barbados Native Extant        
Belgium Vagrant Extant        
Belize Native Extant   Yes    
Benin Native Extant   Yes    
Bermuda (to UK) Vagrant Extant        
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (to Netherlands) Native Extant        
Bosnia and Herzegovina Vagrant Extant        
Botswana Vagrant Extant        
Brazil Native Extant        
Brunei Native Extant        
Bulgaria Native Extant     Yes Yes
Burkina Faso Native Extant        
Burundi Native Extant        
Cambodia Native Extant        
Cameroon Native Extant        
Canada Native Extant        
Cayman Islands (to UK) Native Extant        
Chad Native Extant        
China (mainland) Native Extant        
Colombia Native Extant        
Comoros Vagrant Extant        
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Native Extant        
Costa Rica Native Extant   Yes    
Côte d'Ivoire Native Extant        
Croatia Vagrant Extant        
Cuba Native Extant        
Curaçao (to Netherlands) Native Extant        
Cyprus Native Extant     Yes  
Czech Republic Native Extant        
Denmark Native Extant Yes      
Djibouti Native Extant        
Dominica Native Extant        
Dominican Republic Native Extant        
Ecuador Native Extant Yes      
Egypt Native Extant        
El Salvador Native Extant        
Eritrea Native Extant        
Ethiopia Native Extant        
Finland Vagrant Extant        
France Native Extant Yes   Yes  
French Guiana Native Extant        
Gabon Vagrant Extant        
Gambia Native Extant        
Germany Native Extant Yes      
Ghana Native Extant        
Gibraltar (to UK) Native Extant        
Greece Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Guadeloupe (to France) Native Extant   Yes    
Guam (to USA) Vagrant Extant        
Guatemala Native Extant        
Guinea Native Extant        
Guinea-Bissau Native Extant        
Guyana Native Extant        
Haiti Native Extant        
Honduras Native Extant        
Hungary Vagrant Extant        
India Native Extant        
Indonesia Native Extant        
Iran, Islamic Republic of Native Extant     Yes Yes
Iraq Native Extant     Yes Yes
Ireland Vagrant Extant        
Israel Native Extant        
Italy Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Jamaica Vagrant Extant        
Japan Native Extant        
Jordan Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Kazakhstan Native Extant Yes      
Kenya Native Extant        
Kuwait Native Extant     Yes Yes
Kyrgyzstan Native Extant Yes      
Lebanon Vagrant Extant     Yes  
Liberia Native Extant        
Libya Native Extant        
Luxembourg Vagrant Extant        
Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Native Extant Yes      
Malawi Native Extant        
Malaysia Native Extant   Yes    
Maldives Native Extant Yes      
Mali Native Extant        
Malta Native Extant        
Martinique (to France) Native Extant        
Mauritania Native Extant Yes      
Mexico Native Extant        
Moldova Native Extant Yes      
Mongolia Native Extant Yes      
Montenegro Vagrant Extant        
Montserrat (to UK) Native Extant        
Morocco Native Extant        
Myanmar Native Extant        
Nepal Native Extant        
New Zealand Native Extant        
Nicaragua Native Extant        
Niger Native Extant        
Nigeria Native Extant        
Northern Mariana Islands (to USA) Unknown Extant        
Norway Vagrant Extant        
Oman Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Pakistan Native Extant        
Palestinian Authority Territories Native Extant     Yes  
Panama Native Extant        
Papua New Guinea Unknown Extant        
Paraguay Native Extant        
Peru Native Extant        
Philippines Native Extant        
Poland Vagrant Extant        
Portugal Native Extant Yes      
Puerto Rico (to USA) Native Extant        
Qatar Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Romania Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Russia (Asian) Native Extant Yes      
Russia (Central Asian) Native Extant Yes      
Russia (European) Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Rwanda Native Extant        
Saudi Arabia Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Senegal Native Extant Yes      
Serbia Vagrant Extant        
Seychelles Vagrant Extant        
Sierra Leone Native Extant        
Singapore Native Extant        
Sint Maarten (to Netherlands) Native Extant        
Slovakia Vagrant Extant        
Slovenia Vagrant Extant        
Somalia Native Extant        
South Africa Vagrant Extant        
South Korea Vagrant Extant        
South Sudan Native Extant   Yes    
Spain Native Extant     Yes Yes
Sri Lanka Native Extant        
St Kitts and Nevis Native Extant        
St Lucia Native Extant        
St Martin (to France) Vagrant Extant   Yes    
St Vincent and the Grenadines Native Extant        
Sudan Native Extant        
Suriname Native Extant        
Sweden Vagrant Extant        
Switzerland Native Extant        
Syria Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Taiwan (China) Native Extant        
Tajikistan Native Extant Yes      
Tanzania Native Extant        
Thailand Native Extant        
Timor-Leste Native Extant   Yes    
Togo Native Extant        
Trinidad and Tobago Native Extant        
Tunisia Native Extant       Yes
Turkey Native Extant       Yes
Turkmenistan Native Extant Yes      
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) Native Extant Yes      
Uganda Native Extant        
Ukraine Native Extant Yes   Yes  
United Arab Emirates Native Extant   Yes Yes  
United Kingdom Vagrant Extant        
Uruguay Native Extant Yes      
USA Native Extant Yes      
Uzbekistan Native Extant Yes      
Venezuela Native Extant        
Vietnam Native Extant        
Virgin Islands (to UK) Native Extant   Yes    
Virgin Islands (to USA) Native Extant   Yes    
Western Sahara Native Extant        
Yemen Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Zambia Native Extant        
Zimbabwe Vagrant Extant        

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Afghanistan Ab-i-Istada site factsheet
Australia Goyder Lagoon site factsheet
Australia Lake Sylvester System site factsheet
Australia Mandora Marsh and Anna Plains site factsheet
Bahamas Cat Island Wetlands site factsheet
Bahamas Great Inagua site factsheet
Bahamas Grog Pond site factsheet
Bahamas Harrold and Wilson Ponds National Park site factsheet
Bahamas Southern Great Lake site factsheet
China (mainland) Dongzhaigang site factsheet
Colombia Parque Nacional Natural Sanquianga site factsheet
Cuba Cayo Sabinal, Ballenatos y Manglares de la Bahía de Nuevitas site factsheet
Cuba Humedal Sur de Sancti Spiritus site factsheet
Ecuador Ciénaga de La Segua site factsheet
Ecuador Humedales de Pacoa site factsheet
Ecuador Lagunas de Ecuasal-Salinas site factsheet
Ethiopia Abijatta - Shalla Lakes National Park site factsheet
France Camargue site factsheet
France Petite Camargue fluvio-lacustre site factsheet
France Petite Camargue laguno-marine site factsheet
Ghana Keta Lagoon Ramsar Site site factsheet
Greece Alyki Kitrous lagoon site factsheet
Greece Alyki lagoon, Aigio site factsheet
Greece Amvrakikos gulf site factsheet
Greece Divari Pylou (Gialova) lagoon and Sfaktiria island site factsheet
Greece Evros delta site factsheet
Greece Mesolongi and Aitoliko lagoons, Acheloos delta and Evinos estuary site factsheet
Guinea-Bissau Arquipélago dos Bijagós site factsheet
Honduras Laguna Caratasca site factsheet
India Kole Wetland site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Khouran Straits site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Shadegan marshes and tidal mudflats of Khor-al Amaya and Khor Musa site factsheet
Iraq Khawr Abdallah site factsheet
Italy Cagliari wetlands site factsheet
Italy Gargano Promontory and Capitanata Wetlands site factsheet
Italy Ortazzo and Ortazzino site factsheet
Italy Sinis and Oristano wetlands site factsheet
Italy Valli di Comacchio and Bonifica del Mezzano site factsheet
Kazakhstan Kamysh-Samarskie Lakes site factsheet
Kazakhstan Korgalzhyn State Nature Reserve site factsheet
Kazakhstan Lake Alakol Islands site factsheet
Kazakhstan Lesser Aral Sea site factsheet
Kazakhstan Sorbulak Lake System site factsheet
Kenya Lake Nakuru National Park site factsheet
Kenya Tana River Delta site factsheet
Malaysia North-central Selangor coast site factsheet
Malaysia Pulau Bruit National Park site factsheet
Mali Lac Débo - Lac Oualado Débo site factsheet
Mauritania Aftout es Sâheli site factsheet
Mauritania Banc d'Arguin National Park site factsheet
Mexico Delta of the River Colorado site factsheet
Morocco Barrage al Massira site factsheet
Philippines Manila Bay site factsheet
Romania Black Sea site factsheet
Romania Danube Delta site factsheet
Russia (European) Dadynskiye lakes site factsheet
Russia (European) Delta of the River Don site factsheet
Russia (European) Islands in the western part of Lake Manych-Gudilo site factsheet
Russia (European) Khanskoye Lake site factsheet
Russia (European) Kiziltash limans site factsheet
Russia (European) Kozinka lake and Baranikovski segment of Manych site factsheet
Russia (European) Kurnikov liman site factsheet
Russia (European) Lake Ayke site factsheet
Saudi Arabia Jiddah south corniche and port site factsheet
Saudi Arabia Jizan Bay site factsheet
Saudi Arabia Tarut Bay site factsheet
Senegal Delta du Saloum site factsheet
Senegal Parc National de la Langue de Barbarie site factsheet
Spain Albufera de Valencia marshes site factsheet
Spain Alcázar de San Juan-Quero endorreic lagoons site factsheet
Spain Campo Arañuelo-Valdecañas reservoir site factsheet
Spain Ebro delta site factsheet
Spain Fuente de Piedra, Gosque and Campillos lakes site factsheet
Spain Gallocanta lake site factsheet
Spain Guadalquivir marshes site factsheet
Spain Mar Menor coastal lagoon site factsheet
Spain Pedro Muñoz-Manjavacas endorreic lagoons site factsheet
Spain Pela mountain range-Orellana reservoir-Zorita site factsheet
Spain Tembleque-La Guardia plains site factsheet
Tanzania Lake Kitangire site factsheet
Tanzania Lake Manyara site factsheet
Tanzania Nyumba ya Mungu reservoir site factsheet
Tanzania Rufiji Delta site factsheet
Tanzania Serengeti National Park site factsheet
Tanzania Singida lakes site factsheet
Tunisia Kneiss site factsheet
Tunisia Salines de Thyna site factsheet
Tunisia Sebkhet Kelbia site factsheet
Turkey Acıgöl Lake site factsheet
Turkey Akşehir and Eber Lakes site factsheet
Turkey Bolluk Lake site factsheet
Turkey Bulanık and Malazgirt Plains site factsheet
Turkey Çöl Lake and Çalıkdüzü site factsheet
Turkey Erçek Lake site factsheet
Turkey Eşmekaya Marshes site factsheet
Turkey Kozanlı Gökgöl site factsheet
Turkey Kulu Lake site factsheet
Turkey Seyfe Lake site factsheet
Turkey Sultan Marsh site factsheet
Turkey Tuz Lake site factsheet
Turkmenistan Goyungyrlan site factsheet
Turkmenistan Sarygamysh site factsheet
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) East Caicos and adjacent areas site factsheet
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) Fish Ponds and Crossing Place Trail, Middle Caicos site factsheet
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) North, Middle and East Caicos Ramsar Site site factsheet
Uganda Lutembe Bay site factsheet
Uganda Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake George site factsheet
Ukraine Karkinits'ka and Dzharylgats'ka bays site factsheet
Ukraine Kazantip Cape, Aktash lake and Astanins'ka marsh site factsheet
Ukraine Syvash Bay site factsheet
USA Chenier Plain site factsheet
Uzbekistan Kagan Fish Farm site factsheet
Yemen Aden site factsheet

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Sterna nilotica. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Not Recognised
Family Laridae (Gulls, Terns, Skimmers)
Species name author Gmelin, 1789
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change