This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: http://www.aerc.eu/DOCS/Bird_taxa_of _the_WP15.xls.
AOU. 1998. Check-list of North American birds. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.
Christidis, L.; Boles, W. E. 1994. The taxonomy and species of birds of Australia and its territories. Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union, Melbourne.
Christidis, L.; Boles, W. E. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Dowsett, R. J.; Forbes-Watson, A. D. 1993. Checklist of birds of the Afrotropical and Malagasy regions. Tauraco Press, Li
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Turbott, E. G. 1990. Checklist of the birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.
The BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group is aware that phylogenetic analyses have been published which have proposed generic rearrangements which may affect this species, but prefers to wait until work by other taxonomists reveals how these changes affect the entire groups involved.
Sternula albifrons AOU checklist (1998 + supplements), Sternula albifrons Christidis and Boles (2008), Sternula albifrons , Sternula albifrons albifrons Christidis and Boles (2008)
Flint, V. E.; Boehme, R. L.; Kostin, Y. V.; Kuznetsov, A. A. 1984. A field guide to birds of the USSR. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.
Urban, E. K.; Fry, C. H.; Keith, S. 1986. The birds of Africa vol. II. Academic Press, London.
Richards, A. 1990. Seabirds of the northern hemisphere. Dragon's World Ltd, Limpsfield, U.K.
Fasola, M.; Canova, L. 1996. Conservation of gull and tern colony sites in north-eastern Italy, an internationally important bird area. Colonial Waterbirds 19: 59-67.
del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1996. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Snow, D. W.; Perrins, C. M. 1998. The Birds of the Western Palearctic vol. 1: Non-Passerines. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
BirdLife International. 2000. The Development of Boundary Selection Criteria for the Extension of Breeding Seabird Special Protection Areas into the Marine Environment. OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic. Vlissingen (Flushing).
Barcena, F.; Teixeira, A. M., Bermejo, A. 1984. Breeding seabird populations in the Atlantic sector of the Iberian Peninsula. In: Croxall, J. P.; Evans, P. G. H., Schreiber, R. W. (ed.), Status and Conservation of the World's Seabirds, pp. 335-345. International Council for Bird Preservation.
Melville, D. S.; Shortridge, K. F. 2006. Migratory waterbirds and avian influenza in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway with particular reference to the 2003-2004 H5N1 outbreak. In: Boere, G.; Galbraith, C., Stroud, D. (ed.), Waterbirds around the world, pp. 432-438. The Stationary Office, Edinburgh, UK.
Tavecchia, G.; Baccetti, N.; Serra, L. 2006. Modelling survival and movement probability of Little Tern Sterna albifrons at a post-breeding moulting site: the effect of the colony of origin. In: Boere, G.; Galbraith, C., Stroud, D. (ed.), Waterbirds around the world, pp. 560-561. The Stationary Office, Edinburgh, UK.
Burgess, N. D.; Hirons, J. M. 1992. Creation and management of articficial nesting sites for wetland birds. Journal of Environmental Management 34(4): 285-295.
Choi, J. W.; Matsuda, M.; Kawano, M.; Min, B. Y.; Wakimoto, T. 2001. Accumulation Profiles of Persistent Organochlorines in Waterbirds from an Estuary in Korea. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 41: 353-363.
de Silva, R. I. 1991. Status and conservation of the breeding seabirds of Sri Lanka. In: Croxall. J. P. (ed.), Seabird Status and Conservation: A Supplement, pp. 205-211. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, UK.
Medeiros, R.; Ramos, J. A.; Paiva, V. H.; Almeida, A.; Pedro, P.; Antunes, S. 2007. Signage reduces the impact of human disturbance on little tern nesting success in Portugal. Biological Conservation 135: 99-106.
Thyen, S.; Becker, P. H.; Behmann, H. 2000. Organochlorine and mercury contamination of little terns (Sterna albifrons) breeding at the western Baltic Sea, 1978-96. Environmental Pollution 108: 225-238.
Catry, T., Ramos, J.A., Martins, J., Peste, F., Trigo, S., Paiva, V.H., Almeida, A., Luis, A., Palma, J. and Andrade, P.J. 2006. Intercolony and annual differences in the diet and feeding ecology of little tern adults and chicks in Portugal. Condor 108(2): 366-376.
Perrow, M. R., Skeate, E. R., Lines, P., Brown, D., Tomlinson, M. L. 2006. Radio telemetry as a tool for impact assessment of wind farms: the case of Little Terns Sterna albifrons at Scroby Sands, Norfolk, UK.
Taylor IR; Roe EL. 2004. Feeding ecology of little terns Sterna albifrons sinensis in south-eastern Australia and the effects of pilchard mass mortality on breeding success and population size . Marine and Freshwater Research 55(8): 799-808.
Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)
Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Calvert, R., Ekstrom, J., Hatchett, J., Malpas, L.
IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.
BirdLife International (2013) Species factsheet: Sterna albifrons. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/05/2013. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2013) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/05/2013.
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.
Additional resources for this species
|Current IUCN Red List category||Least Concern|
|Family||Laridae (Gulls and terns)|
|Species name author||Pallas, 1764|
|Population size||mature individuals|
|Distribution size (breeding/resident)||11,800,000 km2|
|Links to further information|
- Additional Information on this species|
- Climate change species distributions