Species Index

Sternula albifrons
(Pallas, 1764)

Common Name: Little Tern

Distribution: A migratory species from eastern Asia, the Little Tern is found on the north, east and south-east Australian coasts. In NSW, it arrives from September to November, occurring mainly north of Sydney, with smaller numbers found south to VIC. It breeds in spring and summer along the entire east coast from Tasmania to northern QLD, and is seen until May, with only occasional birds seen in winter months. It is also distributed from Europe to South Africa.

Ecological Notes: It prefers to feed over shallower coastal waters. The Little Tern eats small fish, insects, crustaceans and other invertebrates.

Additional Notes: Like most other ‘white’ terns, this species feeds by plunge-diving for fish, usually from saline environments. Males offer captured prey to the female as part of the courtship display. Nests in small, scattered colonies in low dunes or on sandy beaches just above high tide mark near estuary mouths or adjacent to coastal lakes and islands. 

References: Wikipedia. “Little Tern.” Last modified 24 May 2020.

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. 2017. Little Tern. Accessed 30 July 2020.…