French: Sterne hansel German: Lachseeschwalbe Spanish: Pagaza piconegra
Other common names:
Gull-billed Tern (when lumped with G. macrotarsa)
J. F. Gmelin
Subspecies and Distribution
G. n. nilotica
(J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – S Europe and W & N Africa (S to Mauritania, E to Tunisia) E through Middle East, Kazakhstan and N Indian Subcontinent to Transbaikalia and NE China (NE Inner Mongolia)#R; winters from tropical Africa through Persian Gulf to India.
G. n. affinis
(Horsfield, 1821) – E & SE China (shores of Bohai Gulf; Fuzhou, in NE Fujian, to Guangdong); winters mainly SE Asia, some extending W to W & S Indian Subcontinent, and SE probably to Australia.
G. n. aranea
(A. Wilson, 1814) – coast of E USA from New Jersey (rarely New York) S to Texas, also Cuba, Bahamas and Puerto Rico, and sparsely along Mexican coast to Yucatán; winters along Central American coasts and S to Brazil and Peru.
G. n. vanrossemi
Bancroft, 1929 – W USA in California (coastal plain and Salton Sea), S to W Mexico (N Baja California and Sinaloa, and probably S to Gulf of Tehuantepec), with isolated breeding recorded in Alaska (delta of Copper R); winters S to Ecuador.
G. n. gronvoldi
Mathews, 1912 – coast and river valleys from French Guiana (Cayenne) S to NE Argentina (Buenos Aires).
33–43 cm; 130–320 g (nilotica 189–292 g, affinis 178–320 g, aranea 160–205 g, vanrossemi 163... read more
Most common call given by adults a two-noted, slightly upslurred “kay-wek” (or similar), given... read more
Breeds on barrier beaches and dunes, salt-marshes, salt-works, man-made islands, and rivers and... read more
Food and feeding
Opportunistic: more insectivorous than most other terns, prey including mainly grasshoppers, dragonflies, moths and grubs; also takes... read more
Lays May–Jun in North America, Europe and N Africa, Apr–May in India (where most breeding sites coastal), May in China, as well... read more
European birds disperse in all directions after breeding, then migrate across Spain, Italy and N... read more
Status and conservation
Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Global population estimated at 150,000–320,000 individuals. It is nowhere abundant but regional trends vary and it may be... read more
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