New York Natural Heritage Program
Common Tern
Sterna hirundo Linnaeus, 1758
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) Phylis Cooper
Family: Terns, Gulls and Relatives (Laridae)

State Protection: Threatened
A native species likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future in New York (includes any species listed as federally Threatened by the United States). It is illegal to take, import, transport, possess, or sell an animal listed as Threatened, or its parts, without a permit from NYSDEC. 1) Any native species likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future in New York. 2) Any species listed as threatened by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Federal Protection: Migratory Bird Treaty Act
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act implements various treaties and conventions between the U. S. and Canada, Japan, Mexico and the former Soviet Union for the protection of migratory birds. Under this Act, taking, killing, or possessing migratory birds, including nests or eggs, is unlawful unless specifically permitted by other regulations.

State Rarity Rank: S3B
A State Rarity Rank of S3B means: Typically 21 to 100 breeding occurrences or limited breeding acreage in New York State.

Global Rarity Rank: G5
A Global Rarity Rank of G5 means: Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.

Did you know?
Common Terns exhibit a variety of breeding displays including a "greeting ceremony" between pairs where the female stands erect and the male bowed and a "parade" where the male walks in a circle around the female (Nisbet et al. 2002).

State Ranking Justification [-]
Common Terns were historically impacted by hunting and the millinery trade in New York. They are currently threatened by restricted habitat availability, human-commensal predators, habitat loss from coastal development and rising sea-levels from climate change. The Common Tern is state-listed as threatened by the NY Department of Environmental Conservation. There are roughly 50 colonies in a year on Long Island with additional inland populations that are generally smaller and scattered.

Short-term Trends [-]

Long-term Trends [-]