|Scientific Name:||Sterna nereis|
|Species Authority:||(Gould, 1843)|
|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.|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Vulnerable C1 ver 3.1|
|Reviewer/s:||Butchart, S. & Symes, A.|
|Contributor/s:||Baker, P., Barré, N., Burbidge, A., Christidis, L., Ford, H., Garnett, S., Herman, K., Holmes, D., Lacey, G., Menkhorst, P., Paton, D. & Saunders, D.|
This species is classified as Vulnerable owing to recent declines over much of its breeding range. Predation by introduced species, disturbance and inappropriate water level management are thought to have contributed most to this decline. However, data is patchy, and a clarification of trends in its strongholds may lead to its status being revised.
|Range Description:||Sterna nereis occurs in Australia (subspecies nereis), New Caledonia (to France) (exsul) and northern New Zealand (davisae). In Australia, subspecies nereis may number less than 5,000 mature individuals at up to 170 sites, with less than 1,600 pairs in Western Australia, a few hundred pairs in each of Tasmania and South Australia and just a few pairs in Victoria (B. Baker in litt. 2007, D. Paton in litt. 2007, A. Burbidge n litt. 2007, D. Saunders in litt. 2007). Though it may be stable in Western Australia, numbers elsewhere in Australia have declined rapidly during the last thirty years. In New Zealand, davisae plummeted to three pairs in 1983 but, due to intensive conservation efforts has increased and in 1998, totalled 25-30 birds and 8-10 pairs over three sites. In 2006 this had increased to 30-40 individuals and 10 pairs (Parrish and Honnor 1997, Taylor 2000, S. Garnett in litt. 2007). By 2011, this had increased again to 40-45 individuals and c10 pairs (P-J. Pridham in litt. 2011). In New Caledonia, exul numbers 100-200 pairs, but was formerly much more abundant (F. Hannecart per. M. Pandolfi in litt. 1999, N. Barre in litt. 2007). One small population in the Southern Lagoon of New Caledonia may be increasing (Baling et al. 2009).|
Native:Australia; New Caledonia; New Zealand
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||In Australia, subspecies nereis may number fewer than 5,000 mature individuals at up to 170 sites, with less than 1,600 pairs in Western Australia, a few hundred pairs in each of Tasmania and South Australia and just a few pairs in Victoria. In New Zealand, davisae numbers 35-40 pairs. In New Caledonia, exul numbers 100-200 pairs. The total population is best placed in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals.|
|Habitat and Ecology:||It breeds on sheltered mainland coastlines and close islands, usually on sandy beaches above the high tide line but below where vegetation occurs (Higgins and Davies 1996). Breeding occurs at different times at different locations, but generally occurs from mid to late October until February (Higgins and Davies 1996). Adults have been observed to conduct post-fledgling parental care in New Zealand (Preddey 2008). It feeds almost entirely on fish mainly by following shoals of feeding predatory fish, and is rarely found out of sight of land (Higgins and Davies 1996). It lays one or two eggs. The oldest recorded individuals are at least 13 (New Zealand) and 17 years (Australia). Observations over one season on New Caledonia revealed a low rate of nesting success, with only one in five nests producing a fledgling (Baling et al. 2009).|
|Major Threat(s):||Threats include habitat degradation by encroaching weeds and housing developments, predation by introduced mammals and gulls, extreme weather events (which locally at least can put an entire breeding season at risk) (Parrish and Honnor 1997), and disturbance by humans (particularly tourists in New Caledonia), dogs and vehicles, either causing the direct destruction of eggs or desertion of nests (Higgins and Davies 1996, Parrish and Honnor 1997, F. Hannecart per. M. Pandolfi in litt. 1999). In South Australia inappropriate water level management has lead to a collapse in the numbers of prey fish, and a subsequent decline in colonies (D. Paton in litt. 2007).|
Conservation Actions Underway
Many colonies in Australia are regularly monitored, and intensive management has led to an increase in the population on New Zealand. Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor all breeding colonies annually to assess trends. Control introduced mammals and other nest predators at important breeding sites. Oppose developments which would encroach on breeding colonies. Restrict access to important breeding colonies.
Baling, M.; Jeffries, D.; Barré, N.; Brunton, D. H. 2009. A survey of Fairy Tern (Sterna nereis) breeding colonies in the Southern Lagoon, New Caledonia. Emu 109(1): 57-61.
Higgins, P. J.; Davies, S. J. J. F. 1996. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic birds vol 3: snipe to pigeons. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.1). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 19 June 2012).
Parrish, R.; Honnor, L. 1997. New Zealand Fairy Tern (Tara-iti) Sterna nereis davisae recovery plan 1997-2002. Department of Conservation, Wellington.
Preddey, J. M. 2008. Post-fledging parental care of a juvenile New Zealand Fairy Tern (Sterna nereis davisae). Notornis 55(3): 159-161.
Taylor, G. A. 2000. Action plan for seabird conservation in New Zealand. Department of Conservation, Wellington.
|Citation:||BirdLife International 2012. Sterna nereis. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 21 May 2013.|
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