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Black Tern Chlidonias niger
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

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) 1,430,000
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 1,430,000
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor Estimated 2009
Population trend Decreasing -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 8.8 - - -
Trend justification: This species has undergone a small or statistically insignificant decrease over the last 40 years in North America (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 Resident
Afghanistan Vagrant Extant        
Albania Native Extant       Yes
Algeria Native Extant        
Angola Native Extant        
Anguilla (to UK) Native Extant        
Antigua and Barbuda Native Extant        
Argentina Native Extant        
Armenia Native Extant Yes      
Aruba (to Netherlands) Native Extant        
Australia Vagrant Extant        
Austria Native Extant     Yes  
Azerbaijan Native Extant Yes      
Bahamas Native Extant        
Bahrain Vagrant Extant     Yes  
Barbados Native Extant        
Belarus Native Extant Yes      
Belgium Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Belize Native Extant        
Benin Native Extant        
Bermuda (to UK) Native Extant        
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (to Netherlands) Native Extant        
Bosnia and Herzegovina Native Extant Yes      
Brazil Native Extant        
Bulgaria Native Extant Yes      
Cameroon Native Extant        
Canada Native Extant Yes      
Cayman Islands (to UK) Native Extant        
Chad Vagrant Extant        
Chile Native Extant        
China (mainland) Native Extant        
Colombia Native Extant        
Congo Native Extant        
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Vagrant Extant        
Costa Rica Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Côte d'Ivoire Native Extant        
Croatia Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Cuba Native Extant        
Curaçao (to Netherlands) Native Extant        
Cyprus Native Extant        
Czech Republic Native Extant Yes      
Denmark Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Djibouti Native Extant        
Dominica Native Extant        
Dominican Republic Native Extant        
Ecuador Native Extant        
Egypt Native Extant        
El Salvador Native Extant        
Equatorial Guinea Native Extant        
Eritrea Native Extant        
Estonia Native Extant Yes      
Ethiopia Native Extant        
Finland Native Extant Yes      
France Native Extant     Yes Yes
French Guiana Native Extant        
Gabon Native Extant        
Gambia Native Extant        
Georgia Native Extant Yes      
Germany Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Ghana Native Extant        
Gibraltar (to UK) Native Extant     Yes  
Greece Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Grenada Vagrant Extant        
Guadeloupe (to France) Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Guatemala Native Extant        
Guinea Native Extant        
Guinea-Bissau Native Extant        
Guyana Native Extant        
Haiti Native Extant        
Honduras Native Extant        
Hungary Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Iceland Vagrant Extant Yes      
India Native Extant        
Iran, Islamic Republic of Native Extant     Yes  
Iraq Vagrant Extant     Yes  
Ireland Native Extant        
Israel Native Extant        
Italy Native Extant     Yes Yes
Jamaica Native Extant   Yes    
Japan Vagrant Extant        
Jordan Native Extant     Yes  
Kazakhstan Native Extant Yes      
Kenya Vagrant Extant        
Kuwait Vagrant Extant     Yes  
Kyrgyzstan Native Extant Yes      
Latvia Native Extant Yes      
Lebanon Vagrant Extant     Yes  
Liberia Native Extant        
Libya Native Extant        
Liechtenstein Native Extant        
Lithuania Native Extant Yes      
Luxembourg Native Extant        
Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Native Extant Yes      
Madagascar Vagrant Extant        
Mali Native Extant        
Malta Native Extant        
Martinique (to France) Native Extant        
Mauritania Native Extant        
Mexico Native Extant        
Moldova Native Extant Yes      
Mongolia Native Extant Yes      
Montenegro Native Extant Yes      
Montserrat (to UK) Native Extant        
Morocco Native Extant        
Namibia Native Extant        
Netherlands Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Nicaragua Native Extant        
Niger Vagrant Extant        
Nigeria Native Extant        
Oman Vagrant Extant     Yes  
Palestinian Authority Territories Native Extant     Yes  
Panama Native Extant        
Peru Native Extant        
Poland Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Portugal Native Extant Yes      
Puerto Rico (to USA) Native Extant        
Romania Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Russia (Asian) Native Extant Yes      
Russia (Central Asian) Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Russia (European) Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Rwanda Vagrant Extant        
São Tomé e Príncipe Unknown Extant        
Saudi Arabia Vagrant Extant     Yes  
Senegal Native Extant     Yes  
Serbia Native Extant Yes      
Sierra Leone Native Extant        
Sint Maarten (to Netherlands) Native Extant        
Slovakia Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Slovenia Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Somalia Vagrant Extant        
South Africa Native Extant        
Spain Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Sri Lanka Native Extant        
St Kitts and Nevis Native Extant        
St Lucia Native Extant        
St Pierre and Miquelon (to France) Native Extant Yes   Yes  
St Vincent and the Grenadines Native Extant        
Sudan Vagrant Extant     Yes  
Suriname Native Extant        
Sweden Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Switzerland Native Extant        
Syria Native Extant     Yes  
Tajikistan Native Extant        
Tanzania Native Extant        
Togo Native Extant        
Trinidad and Tobago Native Extant        
Tunisia Native Extant        
Turkey Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Turkmenistan Native Extant     Yes  
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) Native Extant        
Ukraine Native Extant Yes   Yes  
United Arab Emirates Vagrant Extant   Yes Yes  
United Kingdom Native Extant Yes      
Uruguay Vagrant Extant        
USA Native Extant Yes      
Uzbekistan Native Extant        
Venezuela Native Extant        
Virgin Islands (to UK) Vagrant Extant        
Virgin Islands (to USA) Vagrant Extant        
Western Sahara Native Extant        
Yemen Vagrant Extant     Yes  

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Belarus Biarezina-Hajna site factsheet
Belarus Biarezinski zapaviednik site factsheet
Belarus Dakudaŭskaje site factsheet
Belarus Dniepr floodplain Lojeŭ-Žary site factsheet
Belarus Mid Prypiac' site factsheet
Belarus Sož floodplain site factsheet
Belarus Sporaŭskaje balota site factsheet
Belgium IJzervallei-De Blankaart site factsheet
Benin Lake Nokoué site factsheet
Bulgaria Hadzi Dimitrovo Fish-ponds site factsheet
Bulgaria Kalimok Complex site factsheet
Bulgaria Mechka Fish-ponds site factsheet
Bulgaria Srebarna site factsheet
Denmark Eastern part of Vejlerne site factsheet
Denmark Kongens Mose and Draved Skov site factsheet
Denmark Tøndermarsken, Magisterkog and Rudbøl Sø site factsheet
Estonia Lahepera lake site factsheet
Estonia Räpina polder site factsheet
Estonia Ropka-Ihaste site factsheet
Estonia Väinameri site factsheet
Estonia Vooremaa site factsheet
Estonia Võrtsjärv site factsheet
France Anse de Fouras, baie d'Yves et marais de Rochefort site factsheet
France Baie des Veys et Marais du Cotentin site factsheet
France Brenne centrale site factsheet
France Camargue site factsheet
France Estuaire de la Loire site factsheet
France Etangs de Sologne: étang de l'Arche site factsheet
France Etangs de Sologne: St Viatre, Marcilly-en-Gault et forêt de Bruadan site factsheet
France Ile d'Oléron, marais de Brouage-Saint-Agnant site factsheet
France Marais de Brière site factsheet
France Marais poitevin et baie de l'Aiguillon site factsheet
France Petite Camargue fluvio-lacustre site factsheet
France Plaine du Forez site factsheet
Ghana Densu Delta Ramsar Site and vicinity site factsheet
Ghana Keta Lagoon Ramsar Site site factsheet
Ghana Muni-Pomadze Ramsar Site site factsheet
Ghana Sakumo Lagoon Ramsar Site and vicinity site factsheet
Ghana Songor Ramsar Site site factsheet
Greece Lake Kerkini site factsheet
Guinea-Bissau Arquipélago dos Bijagós site factsheet
Hungary Bodrogzug–Taktaköz site factsheet
Hungary Borsodi-Mezőség site factsheet
Hungary Hortobágy and Tisza-to site factsheet
Hungary Lake Kis-Balaton site factsheet
Hungary Lower Tisza Valley site factsheet
Italy Lake Massaciuccoli site factsheet
Italy Pantani di Vendicari e di Capo Passero site factsheet
Italy Simeto mouth and middle course and Biviere di Lentini site factsheet
Italy Venice lagoon site factsheet
Italy Vercelli rice-fields site factsheet
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan portion of the river Volga's Delta - Zhambay site factsheet
Latvia Babite lake site factsheet
Latvia Engure lake site factsheet
Latvia Liepaja lake site factsheet
Latvia Lubans and fish-ponds site factsheet
Latvia Razna site factsheet
Liberia Cape Mount site factsheet
Lithuania A part of the Vasaknos fish-farm site factsheet
Lithuania Birzulius-Stervas marshes complex site factsheet
Lithuania Cedasas Lake site factsheet
Lithuania Flooded meadows arround the Senoji & Naujoji Rusne lakes site factsheet
Lithuania Kazimieravas lake with surrounding wetlands site factsheet
Lithuania Lake Druksiai site factsheet
Lithuania Lake Kasonys and adjacent wetlands site factsheet
Lithuania Metelys, Dusia & Obelija lakes site factsheet
Lithuania Nemunas delta regional Park site factsheet
Lithuania Plinksiai state Nature Reserve and its environs site factsheet
Lithuania Sartai (Sartai Regional park and neighbouring Rokiskis fish-ponds) site factsheet
Lithuania Sartai Regional Park and Rokiskis Fishponds site factsheet
Lithuania Silale Fishponds site factsheet
Lithuania Smalva Hydrographical Reserve site factsheet
Lithuania Zaltytis site factsheet
Mexico Complejo de Presas de Río Fuerte site factsheet
Mexico Estero Cardonal site factsheet
Mexico Farallon San Ignacio site factsheet
Mexico Istmo de Tehuantepec-Mar Muerto site factsheet
Mexico Laguna de Tamiahua site factsheet
Mexico Lagunas del Playón de Mismaloya site factsheet
Mexico Playa Linda–Río Suchiate site factsheet
Mexico Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano site factsheet
Mexico Tecolutla site factsheet
Netherlands Balgzand site factsheet
Netherlands De Deelen site factsheet
Netherlands De Wieden site factsheet
Netherlands Gelderse Poort site factsheet
Netherlands Lake Gooimeer site factsheet
Netherlands Lake IJsselmeer site factsheet
Netherlands Lake Markermeer site factsheet
Netherlands Nieuwkoopse Plassen site factsheet
Netherlands Oostelijke Vechtplassen site factsheet
Netherlands Oostvaardersplassen site factsheet
Poland Augustów forest site factsheet
Poland Barycz river valley site factsheet
Poland Biebrza river valley site factsheet
Poland Druzno lake site factsheet
Poland Insko Site site factsheet
Poland Kostrzyn River Valley site factsheet
Poland Kwiecewo Site site factsheet
Poland Liwiec river valley site factsheet
Poland Lower Bug river valley site factsheet
Poland Lower Narew River Valley site factsheet
Poland Lower Notec River Valley site factsheet
Poland Lower Odra river valley site factsheet
Poland Lower Vistula River Valley site factsheet
Poland Lower Wieprz River Valley site factsheet
Poland Middle Bug river valley site factsheet
Poland Middle Warta River Valley site factsheet
Poland Oswin site site factsheet
Poland Peatbogs at Wieprz River site factsheet
Poland Przysowia and Sludwia River valley site factsheet
Poland Siemianowka Reseirvoir site factsheet
Poland Sredzka Struga and Maskawa River Valley site factsheet
Poland Swidwie Site site factsheet
Poland Tysmienica river valley site factsheet
Poland Upper Vistula River Valley site factsheet
Poland Upper Wisla River Valley site factsheet
Poland Vistula Lagoon site factsheet
Poland Warta River Mouth site factsheet
Portugal Albufeira do Caia site factsheet
Romania Comana site factsheet
Romania Danube Delta site factsheet
Romania Dunărea Veche (Braţul Măcin) site factsheet
Romania Iezerul Călăraşi site factsheet
Romania Ilfov reservoir site factsheet
Romania Jijiei şi Miletinului fish-ponds site factsheet
Romania Lake Brateş site factsheet
Romania Lunca Siretului Inferior site factsheet
Romania Satchinez marsh site factsheet
Romania Suhaia site factsheet
Russia (Central Asian) Chernoye Lake site factsheet
Russia (Central Asian) Kurtan Lake site factsheet
Russia (European) Delta of the River Don site factsheet
Russia (European) Pereluchski Nature Reserve site factsheet
Russia (European) Ptich'ya magistral' area site factsheet
Russia (European) Ressetinskiye floods site factsheet
Russia (European) Savtsinskoye marsh site factsheet
Russia (European) Upper Mologa river (lake Verestovo) site factsheet
Russia (European) Valley of Zhizdra river site factsheet
Russia (European) Zavidovo Reserve, including Lotoshinski, Klinski and Diatlovo fish ponds site factsheet
Senegal Cap Vert site factsheet
Slovakia Medzibodrozie site factsheet
Slovenia River Drava site factsheet
Spain Guadalquivir marshes site factsheet
Spain Llobregat delta site factsheet
Sweden Lake Hornborgasjön site factsheet
Sweden Lake Tåkern site factsheet
Sweden Lake Vendelsjön site factsheet
Sweden Western part of lake Mälaren site factsheet
Turkey Balıkdamı site factsheet
Turkey Çavuşçu Lake site factsheet
Ukraine Bulakhivs'kyj lyman site factsheet
Ukraine Dniprodzerzhyns'ke reservoir site factsheet
Ukraine Kryva peninsula site factsheet
Ukraine Kyivs'ke reservoir site factsheet
Ukraine Mikulinetskie fish-ponds site factsheet
Ukraine Mishuryn Rig site factsheet
Ukraine Mzha river valley site factsheet
Ukraine Orikhivski lake-system site factsheet
Ukraine Pryp'yat' river valley site factsheet
Ukraine Radomyshl's'ke Game Reserve site factsheet
Ukraine Samars'kyj forest site factsheet
Ukraine Snyvoda river valley site factsheet
Ukraine Sosyns'kyj protected area site factsheet
Ukraine Stokhod river valley site factsheet
Ukraine Sul's'ka bay site factsheet
Ukraine Supij marsh site factsheet
Ukraine Syvash Bay site factsheet
Ukraine Tsybul'kivs'ki lakes site factsheet
Ukraine Udaj river valley site factsheet
Ukraine Vovk river valley site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Seasonally Flooded Agricultural Land suitable breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Wastewater Treatment Areas suitable non-breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes suitable non-breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Freshwater Lakes suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud suitable non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) suitable non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Mesopelagic (200-1000m) suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Marshes/Pools suitable breeding
Altitude 0 - 0 m Occasional altitudinal limits  


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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Chlidonias niger. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016.

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 (Linnaeus, 1758)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1,430,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species
- 2015 European Red List assessment