French: Sterne pierregarin German: Flussseeschwalbe Spanish: Charrán común
Subspecies and Distribution
S. h. hirundo
Linnaeus, 1758 – North America (C & E Canada, N & E USA) to N South America, Atlantic islands, Europe, N Africa (Tunisia) and W Africa (Mauritania, Senegal, erratically Nigeria), through Middle East and Black and Caspian Seas to Yenisey Valley; winters S of Tropic of Cancer.
S. h. minussensis
Sushkin, 1925 – C Asia from upper Yenisey Valley E to Baikal and N Mongolia; winters mainly N Indian Ocean.
S. h. tibetana
H. Saunders, 1876 – W Mongolia S to Kashmir and SW & SC China (Tibet, Sichuan), at high altitudes; winters mostly E Indian Ocean.
S. h. longipennis
Nordmann, 1835 – NE Siberia S to NE China (C Heilongjiang to Inner Mongolia and Shanxi); winters E Indian Ocean and SE Asia to Australia and (rarely) New Zealand.
32–39 cm; 97–146 g (average 120–135 g in breeding season, 102 g in winter); wingspan 72–83 cm. Typical tern; forehead and crown black; back and... read more
Very noisy at colonies where calls include the typical “kierri-kierri-kierri” and short, sharp “kit... read more
Breeds in both coastal and inland areas, from sea-level to 4000+ m. Wide variety of habitats... read more
Food and feeding
Mainly small fish, particularly Ammodytes, Menidia, Fundulus, Tautogolabrus, Clupea, ... read more
Laying mainly April–June. Mainly colonial, often in thousands, but sometimes solitary. Inland colonies smaller than coastal ones; at... read more
Strongly migratory, chiefly wintering on and off coasts in the tropics and temperate regions of S... read more
Status and conservation
Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Global population is estimated at 1,600,000–3,600,000 individuals, the great majority being of the nominate race; the... read more
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