Forster’s Tern

(Sterna forsteri)

Conservation Status

 

No Image Available

 
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

 
  NatureServe

N5B, N5N - Secure Breeding and Nonbreeding

S3B - Vulnerable Breeding

 
  Minnesota

Special Concern

Species in Greatest Conservation Need

 
           
 
Description
 
 

The bill and legs are orange. The underparts are white. The tail is gray with white outer edges.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

14 to 16 in length

31 wingspan

 
     
 

Voice

 
   
   
     
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia) is a much larger bird. The bill is reddish-orange.

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) bill and legs are darker red. The underparts are grayish. The tail is white with gray outer edges. The call is higher pitched and longer in duration.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Breeding: large marshes with open water

Migration: lakes and marshes

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Migration

 
 

Early April to mid-May and August to early October

 
     
 

Nesting

 
 

 

 
     
 

Food

 
 

Small fish, aquatic invertebrates, and flying insects

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common migrant

 
         
 

Maps

 
 

The Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union All Seasons Species Occurrence Map

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Class Aves (birds)  
 

Order

Charadriiformes (shorebirds and allies)  
 

Family

Laridae (gulls, terns, and skimmers)  
 

Subfamily

Sterninae (terns and noddies)  
 

Genus

Sterna (typical terns)  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

 

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

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MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

 

 
           

 

Camera

 

     
 
Slideshows
 
  Forster's Tern
JMC Nature Photos
 
  Forster's Tern  
  Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri)
Joshua Mayer
 
  Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri)  
  Foster's Tern in Flight
marshalljedediah
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on May 16, 2007

Photos of a Foster's Tern in flight. Newport Bay, CA. 5/16/07

 

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

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Other Videos
 
  Forster's Tern 2 (Panasonic GH2 + 100-300mm)
MackM48
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on May 12, 2011

Panasonic GH2 + 100-300mm
AVCHD 1920x1080 60i 17Mbps
Exposure: F8 1/160 ISO Ex-telecon
2011-05-12

   
  Forster's Tern, Sterna forsteri, preening.
Rob Curtis
 
   
 
About

Published on Apr 23, 2014

Forster's Terns, Sterna forsteri preening

   
  Forster's and Common Tern Quiz
Andrew Reago
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 3, 2012

On 9/1/2012, I digiscoped some Forster's Terns visiting Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary in Alton, Missouri. I thought they were all Forster's, until Bill Rudden pointed out that I might want to look again and see if there was a Common Tern amongst the bunch. And guess what? There was. Have fun finding the Common Tern. My wife Chrissy McClarren helped create this quiz. Thanks Bill!

   
  Forster's Tern, Hwy 99 NE of Craven, Saskatchewan, Canada June 6 2014
Sask Birder
 
   
 
About

Published on Nov 23, 2014

Forster's Tern, Hwy 99 NE of Craven, Saskatchewan, Canada June 6 2014

   
  Juvenile Forster's Tern
Brian Kushner
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 21, 2014

Juvenile Forster's Tern - Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge - Oceanville NJ

   

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this bird.

 
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  Todd C
5/10/2022

Location: Burnsville, MN

have been seeing these circling and diving on Crystal Lake for about ten days now.  Very white or light gray back. At first I thought this was Common Tern, but looking closer and researching online for differences, I am confident it is Forster’s Tern. 

 
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
   

 

 

Binoculars


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