New York Natural Heritage Program
Least Tern
Sternula antillarum Lesson, 1847
Birds
Least Tern U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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: Not Listed

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: G4
A Global Rarity Rank of G4 means: Apparently secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.


Did you know?
Least Terns require the same open beach habitat to nest in that people seek out when they visit the shore.

State Ranking Justification [-]
Least Terns are listed as threatened by the Department of Environmental Conservation in New York state. Populations are limited by habitat availability, disturbance by beach goers and off-road vehicles, and predation due to unnaturally high predator numbers associated with human development. Although population numbers appear to have stabilized since the 1980s, the second Breeding Bird Atlas reported a 21% decline in distribution (McGowan and Corwin 2008). Without protection and management efforts for beach-nesting waterbirds, numbers in the state would likely be low.

Short-term Trends [-]

Long-term Trends [-]