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Lesser Crested Tern Thalasseus 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 Resident
Algeria Native Extant        
Australia Native Extant Yes      
Austria Vagrant Extant        
Bahrain Native Extant     Yes 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       Yes
Iraq Native Extant Yes      
Israel Native Extant   Yes    
Italy Native Extant Yes      
Jordan Vagrant Extant        
Kenya Native Extant        
Kuwait Native Extant       Yes
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       Yes
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       Yes
United Kingdom Vagrant Extant        
Vietnam Unknown Extant        
Western Sahara Unknown Extant        
Yemen Native Extant     Yes 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 (2015) Species factsheet: Thalasseus bengalensis. Downloaded from on 30/08/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 30/08/2015.

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, Terns, Skimmers)
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
- Projected distributions under climate change