Endangered Species

Endangered Species

California Least Tern

California Least Tern

Scientific Name: Sterna antillarum browni

Status: E

Long, narrow wings and a broad, forked tail identify the California least tern. Also have black-capped head and black-tipped, pale gray wings of the least tern contrast with its white body. It bears a white blaze across its forehead, dark forewings, black-tipped yellow bill, and yellowish feet. Is less the 25 cm when full grown and has 75 cm wingspan.

Lays clutch of usually 2-3 eggs, mostly May-June (July-August nests probably are renests).

A diurnal bird, it eats mainly small fishes (generally less than 9 cm long, such as anchovy, topsmelt, surf-perch, killifish, and mosquitofish), obtained by diving from air into shallow water. When breeding, forages within a few hundred meters of colony.

To Learn More:

  • CalPhotos - University of California, Berkeley
    Browseable photographs of the species.
  • NatureServe Explorer
    Detailed description of habitat behavior, food, current conservation status, ecological and distribution data, with citations to relevant management reports. Enter species name to retrieve info.
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
    Documents describing protection for this species under the Endangered Species Act. General information about the species as well as plans both to protect it and to help it recover.