Family Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Least Concern

Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia)


Taxonomy

French: Sterne caspienne German: Raubseeschwalbe Spanish: Pagaza piquirroja
Taxonomy:

Sterna caspia

Pallas

, 1770,

Caspian Sea

.

Species name often given as H. tschegrava, particularly in Russian works, name dating from same year as caspia; to avoid further confusion, name tschegrava officially suppressed in 1970#R. Australian and New Zealand birds sometimes separated as race strenua, but characters matched by many individuals of other populations. Monotypic.

Distribution:

North America, N Europe (mainly Baltic), Africa, Madagascar, C & S Asia, Australia (coastal, and sparsely inland), New Zealand; everywhere very local. Fledglings observed in delta of Copper R, suggesting breeding (at least formerly) in Alaska. Disperses more widely in winter.

Descriptive notes

48–56 cm; 574–782 g; wingspan 127–140 cm. Largest tern; large, stout blood red bill with variable black tip, and slightly forked tail; also distinguished by... read more

Voice

 A hoarse deep "krree-ahk". A loud, barking "ra, ra, ra, raeu, rra" is uttered in raucous... read more

Habitat

Locally along coasts, as well as on large inland lakes and reservoirs, breeding on sand, shell or... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly small to medium-sized fish; occasionally eggs and young of other birds, and carrion. Takes larger fish (usually over 9 cm and up to... read more

Breeding

Apr–Jun in N Hemisphere, Sept–Dec in S Hemisphere, but nearly year-round in N Australia. Densely colonial to solitary. Some... read more

Movements

North American and European birds show brief post-breeding dispersal, then migrate slowly S. Baltic... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). The global population is sizable, estimated at 240,000–420,000 birds, and increasing overall, although trends vary regionally.... read more

Recommended citation

Gochfeld, M., Burger, J. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2017). Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia). 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/54013 on 24 June 2017).