Chlidonias leucopterus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Chlidonias leucopterus
Species Authority: (Temminck, 1815)
Common Name(s):
English White-winged Tern, White-winged Black Tern
French Guifette leucoptère

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Malpas, L., Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S.
This species has an extremely 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 stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely 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.

Geographic Range [top]

Albania; Algeria; Angola (Angola); Armenia (Armenia); Australia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Belarus; Benin; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Botswana; Brunei Darussalam; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cambodia; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; China; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Djibouti; Egypt; Equatorial Guinea; Eritrea; Estonia; Ethiopia; France; Gabon; Gambia; Georgia; Germany; Ghana; Greece; Guam; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Hong Kong; Hungary; India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Italy; Japan; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Kuwait; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Latvia; Lebanon; Liberia; Libya; Lithuania; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Madagascar; Malawi; Malaysia; Maldives; Mali; Malta; Mauritania; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Moldova; Mongolia; Montenegro; Morocco; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia; Nepal; Netherlands; New Zealand; Niger; Nigeria; Northern Mariana Islands; Oman; Pakistan; Palau; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Poland; Puerto Rico; Qatar; Romania; Russian Federation; Rwanda; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia (Serbia); Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Slovakia; Slovenia; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Spain; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Swaziland; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Taiwan, Province of China; Tajikistan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Timor-Leste; Togo; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Uganda; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; Uzbekistan; Viet Nam; Yemen; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Afghanistan; Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Barbados; Belgium; Canada; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Dominica; Faroe Islands; Finland; Gibraltar; Guadeloupe; Iceland; Ireland; Lesotho; Luxembourg; Marshall Islands; Martinique; Montserrat; Nauru; Norway; Portugal; Réunion; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Sao Tomé and Principe; Solomon Islands; Sweden; Turks and Caicos Islands; United Kingdom; United States (Georgia - Native); Virgin Islands, U.S.
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The global population is estimated to number c.2,500,000-4,500,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2006), while national population estimates include: c.100-10,000 breeding pairs, c.50-1,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in China; c.50-10,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in Taiwan; < c.1,000 individuals on migration in Korea and c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.50-1,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).
For further information about this species, see 22694782_chlidonias_leucopterus.pdf.
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Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Behaviour This species is strongly migratory (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It breeds from April to August in small colonies of between 3 and 100 pairs (mostly 20-40 pairs) that may contain other species (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Throughout the year the species feeds in flocks (Snow and Perrins 1998) and migrates and overwinters in large flocks (del Hoyo et al. 1996) of up to tens of thousands of individuals (Snow and Perrins 1998). Habitat Breeding The species breeds inland on freshwater lakes (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998), swampy standing water, rivers (Snow and Perrins 1998) and shallow naturally flooded grassland (Richards 1990, Snow and Perrins 1998) with areas of open water bordered by stands of reeds, sedge and other aquatic vegetation (Snow and Perrins 1998). It generally avoids fish-ponds, rice-fields and ornamental waters (Richards 1990) but may feed over wet fields, dry farmland and steppe grassland (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Non-breeding On passage and in winter the species frequents a variety of habitats from inland lakes to rocky coasts (del Hoyo et al. 1996), including rivers, flood-plains, lakes (Snow and Perrins 1998), impoundments, lagoons and mangrove swamps, also feeding over wet fields, dry farmland and steppe grassland (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Diet It diet consists predominantly of aquatic insects (especially Diptera, Odonata and Coleoptera) as well as adult and larval terrestrial insects, small fish and tadpoles (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is a shallow cup in a mound of aquatic vegetation usually placed over water 30-120 cm deep on floating mats of vegetation, or on dry shores or resting on the bottom in shallow water (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species nests in single- or mixed-species colonies, neighbouring nests usually widely spaced (i.e. 10-30 m apart) but may be as close as 2.5 m (del Hoyo et al. 1996).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is susceptible to avian influenza so may be threatened by future outbreaks of the virus (Melville and Shortridge 2006).

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Chlidonias leucopterus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 05 September 2015.
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