Family Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Least Concern

Aleutian Tern (Onychoprion aleuticus)


Taxonomy

French: Sterne des Aléoutiennes German: Aleutenseeschwalbe Spanish: Charrán aleutiano
Taxonomy:

Sterna aleutica

S. F. Baird

, 1869,

Kodiak Island, Alaska

.

Listed by some authors as Sterna camtschatica, particularly in Russia. Monotypic.

Distribution:

Sakhalin through Sea of Okhotsk to Kamchatka and perhaps other sites in Bering Sea; Alaska on Bering and Pacific coasts, from Chukchi Sea and Kotzebue Sound S to Aleutian Is, and E to delta of Copper R and Dry Bay; has bred in Japan (Hokkaido). Main wintering area unknown, although some winter off Indonesia and Malaysia#R#R#R.

Descriptive notes

32–34 cm; 83–140 g; wingspan 75–80 cm. The breeding adult has a white forehead, black cap and lores, mid-grey back and wings, white rump and tail, and... read more

Voice

Unique. Mellow, slightly rolling whistled calls: "piiu", "piirr-i-u", "piiu-pi-pip".

Habitat

Arctic and subarctic coastal plains, mainly around Bering Sea. Partially vegetated sandy and shell... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly small fish. On Sakhalin primarily sticklebacks (Pungitus pungitus, Gasterosteus aculeatus). Feeds both at sea and... read more

Breeding

Laying mainly Jun. Usually small, monospecific colonies of 4–150 pairs, but up to 700 pairs on Sakhalin; occasionally solitary, or as... read more

Movements

A summer visitor to its breeding colonies. It arrives in breeding areas in mid-May and leaves... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Virtually endemic to the Bering Sea but relatively few breeding areas are known. The current breeding distribution and... read more

Recommended citation

Gochfeld, M., Burger, J. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2017). Aleutian Tern (Onychoprion aleuticus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/54040 on 19 October 2017).