Our smallest tern. Little and Least Terns Breeding on Midway Atoll: Identification, Range Extensions, and Assortatie Breeding Behavior Peter Pyle 4990 Shoreline Hvvy. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Unlock thousands of full-length species accounts and hundreds of bird family overviews when you subscribe to Birds of the World. Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers(Order: Charadriiformes, Family:Laridae). Once the two mates are together they will begin building the nest in shallow depressions in bare beach sand. Get Instant ID help for 650+ North American birds. Unlock thousands of full-length species accounts and hundreds of bird family overviews when you subscribe to Birds of the World. Also, global climate change is an impending threat to the least tern. The least tern is the smallest tern in North America. Report fish kills, wildlife emergencies, sightings, etc. Retrieved March 11, 2011, from All About   Birds: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Least_Tern/lifehistory. On sunny days the hot tar showing through the gravel can burn the feet of chicks or become stuck in their down. They lay from mid-April in south Florida to the first of May in the north, and the eggs hatch after 21 days. Every bird has a story. They roost on the ground in unprotected areas of the coastal environment. The oldest recorded Least Tern was at least 24 years, 1 month old when it was found in New Jersey in 1981. Other threats to the least tern include shoreline hardening, mechanical raking, oil spills, response to oil spill events, and increased presence of domestic animals (Defeo et al. California Least Terns nest on beaches, mudflats, and sand dunes, usually near shallow estuaries and lagoons with access to the near open ocean. In Florida, the least tern can be found throughout most coastal areas. In the past couple of decades, due to habitat loss, least terns have taken to nesting on flat roofs, especially gravel ones. The least tern inhabits areas along the coasts of Florida including estuaries and bays, as well as areas around rivers in the Great Plains (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). The young leave the nest in a few days, but don't begin to fly safely until about three weeks later. Least Tern. Other physical characteristics include a yellow beak, gray back, white belly, and black cap. Coastal development causes damage to least tern habitat because of the building on the coasts, human traffic on the beaches, and recreational activities. Version 2010.4. It is the smallest of our terns, and bears outer wing feathers that edge the light-gray wings in black. The least tern’s diet primarily consists of fish, but they will also feed on small invertebrates. During courting, the male will offer the female food in hopes of gaining her choice as a mate. https://www.fnai.org/FieldGuide/pdf/Sterna_antillarum.pdf. The smallest of American terns, the Least Tern is found nesting on sandy beaches along the southern coasts of the United States and up the major river systems far into the interior of the continent. The least tern faces many threats as the human population increases along the coasts. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2001. Last accessed 03/11/2011. Least terns will also build nests on gravel rooftops. Young least terns are able to leave the nest three to four days after hatching. Not only are the birds extremely susceptible to nest disturbance, they have lost extensive nesting habitat to beach development and increased human activity there. (2011). Stinson Beach, California 94970 (ppyle@prbo.org) Nancy Hoffman and Bruce Casler Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge P.O. It has a fast smooth flight with rapid wing beats. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission • Farris Bryant Building (The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 2011). An extensive multimedia section displays the latest photos, videos and audio selections from the Macaulay Library. Bruce C. Thompson, Jerome A. Jackson, Joanna Burger, Laura A. Hill, Eileen M. Kirsch, and Jonathan L. Atwood, Ornithological Society Of The Middle East The Caucasus And Central Asia, RED DE OBSERVADORES DE AVES Y VIDA SILVESTRE DE CHILE. Each species account is written by leading ornithologists and provides detailed information on bird distribution, migration, habitat, diet, sounds, behavior, breeding, current population status, and conservation. Least tern populations seem to be slowly rising, although they are still listed as 'threatened' by the state. Hovers briefly before dipping down to seize prey. The shorebirds nest in very shallow depressions on broad expanses of bare sand, which camouflage the eggs. Copyright 1999 - 2020 State of Florida. Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network, Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule, https://www.fnai.org/FieldGuide/pdf/Sterna_antillarum.pdf, http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Least_Tern/lifehistory, See a full list of our Social Media accounts. Field guide to the rare animals of Florida. The defense behavior of adult Least terns when an intruder enters the nesting area, has earned them the name of “little striker.” They will dive bomb and defecate on intruders. They soon pair up using courtship rituals in which hopeful males offer small fish to prospective mates. 1997. The tail is forked, and the bill and feet are yellow. Threats to sandy bhulzeach ecosystems:  A review. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has developed an educational pilot program being implemented in Pinellas county. Box 29460 Honolulu, Hawaii 96820-1860 Tristan McKee P.O. Thompson, Bruce C., Jerome A. Jackson, Joannna Burger, Laura A. Hill, Eileen M. Kirsch and Jonathan L. Atwood. The Least Tern prefers sandy beaches for nesting, but it will use a flat gravel roof of a building. 2009. Outside of Florida, least terns are found along the U.S. Atlantic Coast, mid Atlantic states, and down from Mexico to northern Argentina (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). 2009). Rising sea levels and more frequent strong storms may damage and destroy least tern nests, as well as habitat. Least Terns appear opportunistic in their foraging behavior, and have been observed on numerous occasions to shift to different feeding areas in response to localized concentrations of suitable prey. The main threat to the least tern population is habitat loss. The eggs are camouflaged to help prevent predation. Usually hovers before plunging into water for tiny prey; does more hovering than most terns. Defeo, O., A. McLachlan, D.S. The program is to help business (or home) owners educate their customers about having tolerance for least terns that are 'squatting' on their flat, gravel roofs. Spring tides can also cause flooding of least tern nests. Predators can cause destruction to breeding colonies while they are nesting by destroying nests and eating chicks and eggs. The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation. Least terns are colony nesters, meaning they nest in a group, which allows them to exchange information about food sources, as well as to detect and mob predators. 2009. At many nesting areas, signs warn people against entering colonies, many of which are roped off during breeding season. Biological Status Review (BSR)Supplemental Information for the BSRSpecies Action Plan, Encyclopedia of LifeFlorida's Breeding Bird AtlasThe Cornell Lab of OrnithologyPrintable version of this pageLiving with Shorebirds. Like all North American terns, the least tern has long, pointed wings and a deeply forked tail. The shorebirds nest in very shallow depressions on broad expanses of bare sand, which camouflage the eggs. Least terns lay eggs between the middle of April and the beginning of May. Adults have short, deeply forked tails and short yellowish legs. Accessed on 11 March 2011. Increased numbers of predators due to the larger amounts of available food and trash for scavenging are also a threat to the least tern. Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online. Least terns can reach a length between 8.3-9.1 inches (21-23 centimeters) with a wingspan of 21-23 inches (53-58 centimeters) (Thompson et al., 1997). Sterna antillarum. In early spring least terns return from wintering grounds in Latin America. Available online at iucnredlist.org/details/22694673/0. Egg incubation lasts for 21 days. Schoeman, T.A. Least terns have long pointed wings and a deeply forked tail.

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