French: Guifette noire German: Trauerseeschwalbe Spanish: Fumarel común
near Uppsala, Sweden
Subspecies and Distribution
C. n. niger
(Linnaeus, 1758) – Eurasian Black Tern – S Scandinavia S to S Spain, and E through E Europe and W Asia to L Balkhash and Altai; winters in Africa.
C. n. surinamensis
(J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – American Black Tern – Great Slave L, S Mackenzie and C Manitoba S to California, and E to Great Lakes, NW Pennsylvania and NW New York, with disjunct populations in Kansas, Indiana, Maine and New Brunswick; winters in Central America and N South America.
23–28 cm; 60–86 g; wingspan 57–65 cm. Distinctive small dark tern. Nominate Old World race has head, neck and breast black, becoming more dark slaty grey on... read more
Relatively quiet compared to Sterna terns but vocal at breeding colonies. Has a range of... read more
Breeds on well-vegetated inland pools, lakes, peat bogs and marshes, rice fields (Italy), and... read more
Food and feeding
Aquatic insects (particularly Coleoptera), small fish, snails, tadpoles and frogs. In breeding season mainly insects, including chironomids... read more
Season May–Jun in Europe and North America. Some assortative mating, larger males mating with larger females. Most colonies contain... read more
Palearctic birds migrate in huge numbers through Mediterranean, and also across N Africa (... read more
Status and conservation
Not globally threatened (Least Concern). The Old World population has been estimated at 500,000 to 1,000,000 individuals, most of them nesting in western Russia, Belarus,... read more
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