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Fairy Tern Sterna nereis

IUCN Red List Criteria

Critically Endangered  
Endangered  
Vulnerable C1 

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2012 Vulnerable
2010 Vulnerable
2008 Vulnerable
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Vulnerable
1988 Near Threatened

Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Australia
Average mass 72.3 g

Distribution

  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 11,700 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 576,000 medium
Number of locations 11-100 -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 2500-9999 medium Estimated 2007
Population trend Decreasing medium -
Number of subpopulations 2-100 - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 11 - - -
Population justification: In Australia, subspecies nereis may number fewer than 5,000 mature individuals at up to 170 sites, with less than 1,600 pairs in Western Australia, a few hundred pairs in each of Tasmania and South Australia and just a few pairs in Victoria. In New Zealand, davisae numbers 35-40 pairs. In New Caledonia, exul numbers 100-200 pairs. The total population is best placed in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals.
Trend justification: Data indicates a decline of 23% due to, perhaps most importantly, disturbance and predation.

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Australia Native Extant Yes    
Fiji Vagrant Extant   Yes  
New Caledonia (to France) Native Extant Yes    
New Zealand Native Extant Yes    

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Australia Barrow Island site factsheet
Australia Carnac Island (Perth) site factsheet
Australia Chalky, Big Green and Badger Island Groups site factsheet
Australia Coffin Bay site factsheet
Australia Coorong site factsheet
Australia Corner Inlet site factsheet
Australia Eastern Flinders Island site factsheet
Australia Faure and Pelican Islands (Shark Bay) site factsheet
Australia Gippsland Lakes site factsheet
Australia Goose Island (Spencer Gulf) site factsheet
Australia Gulf St Vincent site factsheet
Australia Investigator Islands site factsheet
Australia Kangaroo Island site factsheet
Australia King Island site factsheet
Australia Lake Hawdon System site factsheet
Australia Lake MacLeod site factsheet
Australia Lake Newland site factsheet
Australia Lakes Alexandrina and Albert site factsheet
Australia Marion Bay site factsheet
Australia Montebello Islands site factsheet
Australia North-west Tasmanian Coast site factsheet
Australia Orford (Tasmania) site factsheet
Australia Peel-Harvey Estuary site factsheet
Australia Recherche Archipelago site factsheet
Australia Robbins Passage and Boullanger Bay site factsheet
Australia Rottnest Island site factsheet
Australia Sandy Island (Windy Harbour) site factsheet
Australia Seagull Lake (Eyre Peninsula) site factsheet
Australia Sir Joseph Banks Islands site factsheet
Australia Southern Yorke Peninsula site factsheet
Australia St Helens (Tasmania) site factsheet
Australia Swan Bay and Port Phillip Bay Islands site factsheet
Australia Troubridge Island site factsheet
Australia Venus Bay site factsheet
Australia Western Port site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Sand Dunes major breeding
Marine Intertidal Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, Etc major breeding
Marine Intertidal Shingle and/or Pebble Shoreline and/or Beaches major 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
Altitude 0 - 0 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact

Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Climate change & severe weather Storms & flooding Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Decline Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation
Human intrusions & disturbance Recreational activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Decline Medium Impact:
Stresses
Species disturbance
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases / Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Decline Medium Impact:
Stresses
Species mortality
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases / Marram Grass (Ammophila arenaria) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases / Mercer Grass (Paspalum distichum) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases / Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Rapid Declines Medium Impact:
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases / Sea Spurge (Euphorbia paralias) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases / Sea Wheatgrass (Thinopyrum junceiforme) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases / Spartina (Spartina altemiflora) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases / Tree Malva (Malva dendromorpha) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Problematic native species/diseases Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Decline Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality
Natural system modifications Dams & water management/use / Abstraction of surface water (unknown use) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Decline Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Reduced reproductive success
Residential & commercial development Commercial & industrial areas Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion

Utilisation

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Sterna nereis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/07/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/07/2014.

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 Vulnerable
Family Laridae (Gulls and terns)
Species name author (Gould, 1843)
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 11,700 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species