Least tern (Sterna antillarum)

This Tern is 22–24 cm long, and has a wingspan of about 50 cm. It weighs between 39–52 g. The upper parts of its body are fairly uniform light gray and the lower parts are white. Its head is white except for the crown, which is black like the line that connects with the beak through the eyes. His forehead is white, broadening in winter. Its bill is yellow with a black tip in summer and completely blackish in winter. Its legs are yellowish. Its wings are mainly light gray, although it has black outer primaries.


It is mainly bred in North America and migrates to overwinter in Central America, the Caribbean, and northern South America. It inhabits beach areas. They are birds of open habitats that mate in noisy colonies and lay eggs directly on the ground, with little or no nest material.


They feed on fish, obtained by hunting through diving. Tern eyes do not see well underwater so they rely on their sharp vision from the air before diving. Terns have drops of red oil on the cones of their retinas; birds that have to see through the air /water interface have deeper colored carotenoid pigments in the oil droplets than other species. The pigment also improves visual contrast and sharpens distance vision, especially in hazy conditions, and helps terns locate schools of fish.

Resident bird with probability of sighting throughout the year.


To be found mainly at lagoons and estuary.