Belongs to: terns

Compare with: common tern

Little tern Sterna albifrons

BoCC Amber list

Best time to see: mid Apr to mid Sep

Key facts

Tiny tern with distinctive white forehead, rarely seen away from the coast

Breeds in small numbers on sand or shingle beaches, wintering in Africa

Declining mainly because of disturbance of its vulnerable nests


Grey upperparts, white below; yellow legs, black cap with white forehead, yellow bill with black tip; 22–24 cm

Flies with quick wingbeats and can often be seen patrolling the sea and diving for fish


In courtship, male feeds the female with gifts of sand-eels or fish

Nest is a bare scrape on sand or shingle near sea; one brood of 2-3 olive brown eggs, May to June

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