Sterna striata


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Sterna striata
Species Authority: Gmelin, 1789
Common Name(s):
English White-fronted Tern
Taxonomic Notes: The BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group is aware that phylogenetic analyses have been published which have proposed generic rearrangements which may affect this species, but prefers to wait until work by other taxonomists reveals how these changes affect the entire groups involved.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-11-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Calvert, R. & Ekstrom, J.
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be declining, but is not currently thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
2012 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The White-fronted Tern is native to south-west Australasia, breeding on the North and South Island of New Zealand, Stewart Island, the Chatham, Auckland and Snares Islands off the coast of New Zealand, and Flinders and Cape Barren Island off the north-east of Tasmania. It is also a winter visitor to Australia, from south Queensland to Tasmania and west to South Australia.
Australia; New Zealand
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


The global population is very unlikely to exceed 50,000 individuals, and may be considerably less; OSNZ survey results from the 1990s suggest a total population of 12,000-15,000 pairs (C. Gaskin and G. Taylor in litt. 2012) therefore estimated 24,000-30,000 mature individuals here. The previous estimate of 1,500,000 is considered to be a vast overestimate (C. Gaskin and G. Taylor in litt. 2012).

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species can be found in coastal areas, nesting on rocky or sandy beaches and shingle islands in rivers, also on coastal cliffs and deserted barges, often close to the surf. It feeds along the shore and in bays, and over oceanic waters in winter. It feeds almost exclusively on fish but will also take shrimp, feeding in the surf zone or several kilometres out to sea. It often feeds in flocks, plunge-diving from 7-10 metres with or without hovering. It also feeds but contact-dipping, and is frequently victimised by skuas. It lays from October to December with most colonies containing 100-500 pairs, although solitary pairs are recorded at the edges of its range (del Hoyo et al. 1996).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine

Citation: BirdLife International 2013. Sterna striata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 27 March 2015.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided