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Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis

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) 1,820,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 25,700,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor Estimated 2009
Population trend Stable -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 11 - - -
Trend justification: The overall population trend is stable, although some populations have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006).

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Algeria Native Extant      
Australia Native Extant Yes    
Austria Vagrant Extant      
Bahrain Native Extant     Yes
Bangladesh Native Extant      
British Indian Ocean Territory Native Extant      
Brunei Native Extant      
Cambodia Vagrant Extant      
China (mainland) Native Extant      
Comoros Native Extant      
Djibouti Native Extant Yes    
Egypt Native Extant Yes    
Eritrea Native Extant Yes    
France Vagrant Extant      
French Southern Territories Unknown Extant      
Gambia Native Extant      
Ghana Vagrant Extant      
Gibraltar (to UK) Vagrant Extant      
Greece Vagrant Extant      
Guinea Native Extant      
Guinea-Bissau Native Extant      
India Native Extant      
Indonesia Native Extant      
Iran, Islamic Republic of Native Extant      
Iraq Native Extant Yes    
Israel Native Extant   Yes  
Italy Native Extant Yes    
Jordan Vagrant Extant      
Kenya Native Extant      
Kuwait Native Extant      
Lebanon Native Extinct Yes    
Libya Native Extant Yes    
Madagascar Native Extant Yes    
Malaysia Native Extant   Yes  
Maldives Native Extant Yes    
Mauritania Native Extant      
Mauritius Native Extant      
Mayotte (to France) Native Extant      
Morocco Native Extant      
Mozambique Native Extant      
Myanmar Native Extant      
Netherlands Vagrant Extant      
Oman Native Extant   Yes Yes
Pakistan Native Extant      
Palestinian Authority Territories Vagrant Extant     Yes
Papua New Guinea Native Extant Yes    
Philippines Unknown Extant      
Qatar Native Extant   Yes Yes
Réunion (to France) Unknown Extant      
Saudi Arabia Native Extant      
Senegal Vagrant Extant      
Seychelles Native Extant      
Singapore Native Extant      
Solomon Islands Unknown Extant      
Somalia Native Extant      
South Africa Native Extant      
Spain Native Extant Yes    
Sri Lanka Native Extant      
Sudan Native Extant Yes    
Switzerland Vagrant Extant      
Tanzania Native Extant      
Thailand Native Extant      
Timor-Leste Native Extant   Yes  
Tunisia Native Extant      
Turkey Vagrant Extant      
Uganda Vagrant Extant      
United Arab Emirates Native Extant      
United Kingdom Vagrant Extant      
Vietnam Unknown Extant      
Western Sahara Unknown Extant      
Yemen Native Extant     Yes

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Australia Brook Islands site factsheet
Australia Cape York to Cape Grenville Islands site factsheet
Australia Islands North of Port Stewart site factsheet
Australia Michaelmas Cay site factsheet
Australia South Barnard Islands site factsheet
Australia Stapleton Island site factsheet
Australia Sudbury Reef site factsheet
Djibouti Les Sept Frères site factsheet
Egypt Hurghada archipelago site factsheet
Eritrea Dehalak Archipelago and offshore islands site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Kharku Wildlife Refuge site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Nakhilu, Morghu and Ummal Karam islands site factsheet
Kenya Sabaki River Mouth site factsheet
Kenya Tana River Delta site factsheet
Libya Geziret al Elba - Ayn al Ghazalah Bay site factsheet
Libya Geziret Garah site factsheet
Madagascar Ambavanankarana wetlands site factsheet
Madagascar Baly Bay National Park site factsheet
Madagascar Cape Anorontany archipelago site factsheet
Madagascar Mahavavy Kinkony Wetland site factsheet
Madagascar Sahamalaza-Iles Radama (Sahamalaza Bay wetlands IBA) site factsheet
Madagascar Southwestern Coastal Wetlands and Nosy Manitse site factsheet
Madagascar Tambohorano wetland Complex site factsheet
Madagascar Wetlands of the Tsiribihina delta and upper Tsiribihina river site factsheet
Malaysia North-central Selangor coast site factsheet
Morocco Sebkha Bou Areg site factsheet
Mozambique Bazaruto Archipelago site factsheet
Oman Barr al Hikman site factsheet
Saudi Arabia Abu Ali site factsheet
Saudi Arabia Gulf coral islands site factsheet
Saudi Arabia Gulf of Salwah site factsheet
Sudan Mukawwar island and Dunganab bay site factsheet
Sudan Suakin archipelago site factsheet
Tanzania Dar es Salaam coast site factsheet
Tanzania Rufiji Delta site factsheet
Thailand Na Muang Krabi site factsheet
United Arab Emirates Qarnayn island site factsheet
Yemen Islands north of Al-Hudaydah site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Intertidal Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, Etc major breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major non-breeding
Altitude 0 - 0 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Sterna bengalensis. Downloaded from on 13/07/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 13/07/2014.

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 Lesson, 1831
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1,820,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species
- Climate change species distributions