Family Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Least Concern

Snowy-crowned Tern (Sterna trudeaui)


French: Sterne de Trudeau German: Weißscheitel-Seeschwalbe Spanish: Charrán coroniblanco
Other common names: Trudeau's Tern

Sterna Trudeaui


, 1838,

Great Egg Harbor, New Jersey (probably in error)


Genetic data#R support suggestion that present species and S. forsteri are sister-species; the two may be part of a monophyletic S. hirundo group#R (see that species). Monotypic.


Coast and interior of South America, breeding from SE Brazil and Uruguay to EC Argentina (S Buenos Aires, rarely to Santa Cruz), and in Chile (Aconcagua to Llanquihue).

Descriptive notes

35 cm; 146–160 g; wingspan 76–78 cm. Head and upper neck white, with black spot in front of eye and dark band behind; upperparts and upperwings pale grey, with... read more


The call is a series of rapid notes "je-je-je-je", or a short, grating "jeeer".


Fresh and saline wetlands, both inland and coastal. Breeds on vegetated lagoons of pampas... read more

Food and feeding

Small fish and insects. In Chile, feeds mainly on pejerrey (Austromenidia laticlavia). Of 84 fish prey observed during one study... read more


Virtually no data published. Recorded Oct in N, Nov in Buenos Aires, Dec in Chubut. One colony in a lagoon held 30–40 nests. Often... read more


Outside breeding season, ranges north on the Pacific coast, rarely as far as southern S Peru,... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). The global population is not known with any precision but is tentatively put within the range of up to 10,000 birds in the southwest... read more

Recommended citation

Gochfeld, M., Burger, J. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Snowy-crowned Tern (Sterna trudeaui). 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 on 25 February 2020).