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Common White Tern Gygis alba

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 not a migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type   Average mass -


  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 1,800
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 16,900
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) 15.3 - - -
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
American Samoa Native Extant      
Australia Native Extant      
Bangladesh Native Extant      
Bermuda (to UK) Vagrant Extant     Yes
Brazil Native Extant      
British Indian Ocean Territory Native Extant Yes    
Chile Native Extant      
China (mainland) Native Extant      
Christmas Island (to Australia) Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Cocos (Keeling) Islands (to Australia) Native Extant Yes    
Colombia Native Extant      
Comoros Native Extant      
Cook Islands Native Extant      
Costa Rica Native Extant      
Fiji Native Extant      
French Polynesia Native Extant      
French Southern Territories Unknown Extant      
Guam (to USA) Native Extant Yes    
India Native Extant      
Indonesia Native Extant      
Japan Native Extant      
Kiribati Native Extant      
Madagascar Unknown Extant      
Maldives Native Extant      
Marshall Islands Native Extant Yes    
Mauritius Native Extant Yes    
Mayotte (to France) Native Extant      
Mexico Native Extant      
Micronesia, Federated States of Native Extant Yes    
Nauru Native Extant      
New Caledonia (to France) Native Extant      
New Zealand Native Extant Yes    
Niue (to New Zealand) Native Extant      
Norfolk Island (to Australia) Native Extant      
Northern Mariana Islands (to USA) Native Extant      
Palau Native Extant Yes    
Panama Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Papua New Guinea Native Extant      
Philippines Unknown Extant      
Pitcairn Islands (to UK) Native Extant Yes    
Réunion (to France) Native Extant      
Samoa Native Extant      
Seychelles Native Extant Yes    
Solomon Islands Native Extant      
St Helena (to UK) Native Extant      
Timor-Leste Unknown Extant      
Tokelau (to New Zealand) Native Extant      
Tonga Native Extant      
Trinidad and Tobago Native Extant      
Tuvalu Native Extant      
United States Minor Outlying Islands (to USA) Native Extant Yes    
USA Native Extant      
Vanuatu Native Extant      
Vietnam Native Extant      
Wallis and Futuna Islands (to France) Native Extant Yes    

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Brazil Trindade e Martim Vaz site factsheet
French Polynesia Anuanuraro site factsheet
French Polynesia Reitoru site factsheet
Mauritius Cargados Carajos shoals (Saint Brandon) site factsheet
Pitcairn Islands (to UK) Ducie Island site factsheet
Pitcairn Islands (to UK) Henderson Island site factsheet
Seychelles Aride island site factsheet
Seychelles Cousin island site factsheet
Seychelles Cousine island site factsheet
Seychelles Frégate island site factsheet
Seychelles Marie Louise island site factsheet
USA Northwestern Hawaiian Islands site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major resident
Marine Neritic Pelagic major resident
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major resident
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major resident
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major resident
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major resident
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major resident
Altitude 0 - 50 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Gygis alba. Downloaded from on 24/04/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/04/2014.

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 (Sparrman, 1786)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1,800 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species