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Caspian Tern Sterna caspia

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
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 -


  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 6,290,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 9,330,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor Estimated 2009
Population trend Increasing -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 12.2 - - -
Population justification: The global population is estimated to number c.240,000-420,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2006), while national population estimates include: c.50-1,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in China; c.50-1,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in Taiwan; < c.50 individuals on migration and < c.50 wintering individuals in Japan and c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.50-1,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).
Trend justification: The overall population trend is increasing, although some populations are decreasing, stable, or have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006). This species has undergone a large and statistically significant increase over the last 40 years in North America (266% increase over 40 years, equating to a 38.3% increase per decade; data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count: Butcher and Niven 2007)

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Afghanistan Native Extant     Yes
Albania Native Extant   Yes  
Algeria Native Extant      
Angola Native Extant      
Anguilla (to UK) Vagrant Extant      
Antigua and Barbuda Vagrant Extant      
Aruba (to Netherlands) Native Extant      
Australia Native Extant Yes    
Austria Native Extant     Yes
Azerbaijan Native Extant Yes   Yes
Bahamas Native Extant      
Bahrain Native Extant     Yes
Bangladesh Native Extant      
Barbados Native Extant      
Belarus Native Extant     Yes
Belgium Vagrant Extant      
Belize Native Extant Yes    
Benin Unknown Extant      
Bermuda (to UK) Vagrant Extant      
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (to Netherlands) Native Extant      
Botswana Native Extant      
Brunei Native Extant      
Bulgaria Native Extant      
Burkina Faso Native Extant      
Burundi Vagrant Extant      
Cambodia Native Extant      
Cameroon Native Extant      
Canada Native Extant Yes    
Cayman Islands (to UK) Native Extant      
Central African Republic Native Extant      
Chad Native Extant      
China (mainland) Native Extant      
Colombia Native Extant      
Comoros Native Extant      
Congo Native Extant      
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Vagrant 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      
Czech Republic Native Extant      
Denmark Native Extinct     Yes
Djibouti Native Extant      
Dominica Vagrant Extant      
Dominican Republic Native Extant      
Ecuador Vagrant Extant      
Egypt Native Extant Yes    
El Salvador Native Extant   Yes  
Equatorial Guinea Native Extant      
Eritrea Native Extant      
Estonia Native Extant Yes    
Ethiopia Native Extant      
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Vagrant Extant      
Finland Native Extant Yes   Yes
France Native Extant     Yes
French Guiana Native Extant      
Gabon Native Extant      
Gambia Native Extant Yes    
Germany Native Extant Yes   Yes
Ghana Native Extant      
Gibraltar (to UK) Vagrant Extant      
Greece Native Extant   Yes Yes
Guadeloupe (to France) Vagrant Extant     Yes
Guatemala Native Extant      
Guinea Native Extant Yes    
Guinea-Bissau Native Extant Yes    
Haiti Native Extant      
Honduras Native Extant      
Hong Kong (China) Native Extant      
Hungary Native Extant      
India Native Extant      
Indonesia Native Extant      
Iran, Islamic Republic of Native Extant     Yes
Iraq Native Extant     Yes
Ireland Vagrant Extant      
Israel Native Extant      
Italy Native Extant      
Jamaica Native Extant      
Japan Native Extant      
Jordan Native Extant   Yes  
Kazakhstan Native Extant Yes    
Kenya Native Extant      
Kuwait Native Extant     Yes
Kyrgyzstan Vagrant Extant      
Laos Native Extant      
Latvia Native Extant Yes    
Liberia Native Extant      
Libya Native Extant      
Lithuania Native Extant     Yes
Luxembourg Vagrant Extant      
Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Native Extant   Yes  
Madagascar Native Extant      
Malaysia Native Extant      
Maldives Native Extant      
Mali Native Extant      
Malta Native Extant      
Martinique (to France) Vagrant Extant      
Mauritania Native Extant Yes    
Mayotte (to France) Native Extant      
Mexico Native Extant      
Moldova Native Extant     Yes
Mongolia Native Extant Yes    
Montenegro Vagrant Extant      
Morocco Native Extant      
Mozambique Native Extant      
Myanmar Native Extant      
Namibia Native Extant Yes    
Nepal Native Extant      
Netherlands Native Extant      
New Zealand Native Extant Yes    
Nicaragua Native Extant      
Niger Native Extant      
Nigeria Native Extant      
Norway Vagrant Extant      
Oman Native Extant   Yes Yes
Pakistan Native Extant      
Palestinian Authority Territories Native Extant     Yes
Panama Native Extant      
Philippines Native Extant      
Poland Native Extant Yes   Yes
Portugal Native Extant   Yes  
Puerto Rico (to USA) Native Extant      
Qatar Native Extant      
Romania Native Extant      
Russia (Asian) Native Extant Yes    
Russia (Central Asian) Native Extant Yes    
Russia (European) Native Extant Yes   Yes
Rwanda Vagrant Extant      
Saudi Arabia Native Extant     Yes
Senegal Native Extant Yes    
Serbia Vagrant Extant      
Seychelles Native Extant      
Sierra Leone Native Extant      
Singapore Native Extant      
Sint Maarten (to Netherlands) Native Extant      
Slovakia Native Extant     Yes
Slovenia Vagrant Extant      
Somalia Native Extant      
South Africa Native Extant Yes    
South Sudan Native Extant   Yes  
Spain Native Extant      
Sri Lanka Native Extant      
St Kitts and Nevis Vagrant Extant      
St Lucia Vagrant Extant      
St Pierre and Miquelon (to France) Native Extant   Yes Yes
Sudan Native Extant      
Swaziland Vagrant Extant      
Sweden Native Extant Yes   Yes
Switzerland Native Extant      
Syria Native Extant     Yes
Taiwan (China) 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      
Turkey Native Extant      
Turkmenistan Native Extant Yes    
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) Native Extant      
Uganda Native Extant      
Ukraine Native Extant Yes    
United Arab Emirates Native Extant     Yes
United Kingdom Vagrant Extant      
USA Native Extant Yes    
Uzbekistan Native Extant Yes    
Venezuela Native Extant      
Vietnam Native Extant   Yes  
Virgin Islands (to USA) Vagrant Extant      
Western Sahara Native Extant      
Yemen Native Extant     Yes
Zambia Native Extant      
Zimbabwe Native Extant      

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Australia Lake Eyre site factsheet
Australia Paroo Floodplain and Currawinya site factsheet
Australia Strzelecki Desert Lakes site factsheet
Canada Lake St. Martin Islands site factsheet
Canada Limestone Islands site factsheet
Canada Little George Island site factsheet
Canada Pigeon Island site factsheet
Canada Presqu'ile Provincial Park site factsheet
Canada Sand Reef Islands site factsheet
Canada Spruce Island Reef site factsheet
Canada The Cousins site factsheet
Canada The Watchers site factsheet
Colombia Ciénaga Grande, Isla de Salamanca and Sabana Grande RAMSAR biosphere reserve site factsheet
Egypt Hurghada archipelago site factsheet
Estonia Irbe strait site factsheet
Estonia Kahtla-Kübassaare site factsheet
Estonia Väinameri site factsheet
Finland Eckerö and Hammarland archipelago site factsheet
Finland Itäinen Suomenlahti National Park site factsheet
Finland Kirkon-Vilkkiläntura Bay site factsheet
Finland Kokkola and Kälviä archipelago site factsheet
Finland Kristiinankaupunki southern archipelago site factsheet
Finland Krunnit archipelago site factsheet
Finland Merenkurkku archipelago site factsheet
Finland Oulu region wetlands site factsheet
Finland Oura and Enskeri archipelagos site factsheet
Finland Pernaja outer archipelago site factsheet
Finland Pori archipelago and wetlands site factsheet
Finland Porvoo outer archipelago site factsheet
Finland Tammisaari and Inkoo western archipelago site factsheet
France Camargue site factsheet
Gambia Allahein to Kartung coast site factsheet
Gambia Niumi National Park site factsheet
Gambia Tanbi wetland complex site factsheet
Gambia Tanji River (Karinti) Bird Reserve site factsheet
Ghana Keta Lagoon Ramsar Site site factsheet
Greece Lake Amvrakia site factsheet
Greece Mesolongi and Aetoliko lagoons, and Acheloos and Evinos estuaries site factsheet
Guinea Iles Tristao site factsheet
Guinea-Bissau Arquipélago dos Bijagós site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Bahu Kalat (Gandu) Protected Area site factsheet
Iraq Haur Al Hammar site factsheet
Kenya Tana River Delta site factsheet
Lithuania Nemunas delta regional Park site factsheet
Mali Lac Débo - Lac Oualado Débo site factsheet
Mali Lac Horo site factsheet
Mauritania Aftout es Sâheli site factsheet
Mauritania Banc d'Arguin National Park site factsheet
Mauritania Cap Blanc site factsheet
Mauritania Chott Boul site factsheet
Mauritania Diawling National Park site factsheet
Mauritania Lac d'Aleg site factsheet
Mongolia Khar Lake site factsheet
Mongolia Khar Us Lake site factsheet
Morocco Baie d'Ad Dakhla site factsheet
Namibia Sandwich Harbour site factsheet
Namibia Walvis Bay site factsheet
Oman Barr al Hikman site factsheet
Oman Duqm site factsheet
Oman Khawr Ghawi site factsheet
Oman Masirah island site factsheet
Romania Black Sea site factsheet
Romania Danube Delta site factsheet
Russia (Central Asian) Chanovskaya lake system site factsheet
Russia (European) Delta of the Kuban' river site factsheet
Russia (European) Delta of the River Don site factsheet
Russia (European) Dolgy Reef and Bol'shoi Fiskar archipelagos site factsheet
Russia (European) Khanskoye Lake site factsheet
Russia (European) Kiziltash limans site factsheet
Russia (European) Mouth of Samur river site factsheet
Russia (European) Valaamski archipelago (including Palinsaari island) site factsheet
Russia (European) Yeiski salt-lakes site factsheet
Saudi Arabia Jiddah south corniche and port site factsheet
Saudi Arabia Tarut Bay site factsheet
Senegal Delta du Saloum site factsheet
Senegal Joal-Fadiouth site factsheet
Senegal La Petite Côte site factsheet
Senegal Parc National de la Langue de Barbarie site factsheet
South Africa Lake St Lucia and Mkuze Swamps site factsheet
South Africa Lower Berg river wetlands site factsheet
Spain Isla Cristina and Ayamonte marshes and Prado lagoon site factsheet
Sweden Bråviken - Hävringe site factsheet
Sweden Coastal areas of eastern Gotland island site factsheet
Sweden Coastal areas of eastern Öland island site factsheet
Sweden Lake Storhjälmaren site factsheet
Sweden Outer Stockholm archipelago site factsheet
Sweden Rödkallen-SörÄspen site factsheet
Sweden Strandstuguviken site factsheet
Taiwan (China) Budai Wetlands site factsheet
Turkey Büyük Menderes Delta site factsheet
Turkey Gediz Delta site factsheet
Turkey Keban Islands site factsheet
Turkey South Keban Dam site factsheet
Turkey Tuz Lake site factsheet
Ukraine Karkinits'ka and Dzharylgats'ka bays site factsheet
Ukraine Syvash Bay site factsheet
Yemen Aden site factsheet
Yemen Bahr Ibn Abbas - Ra's Isa site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Water Storage Areas (over 8ha) suitable breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Water Storage Areas (over 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes suitable breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes suitable non-breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Freshwater Lakes suitable breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Freshwater Lakes suitable non-breeding
Marine Intertidal Salt Marshes (Emergent Grasses) suitable breeding
Marine Intertidal Salt Marshes (Emergent Grasses) suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands major breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Altitude 0 - 0 m Occasional altitudinal limits  


Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Pets Whole Adults and juveniles Wild International Non-trivial Recent
Sport Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Sterna caspia. Downloaded from on 20/04/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 20/04/2014.

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 Least Concern
Family Laridae (Gulls and terns)
Species name author Pallas, 1770
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Increasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 6,290,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species
- Climate change species distributions