New York Natural Heritage Program
Gull-billed Tern
Gelochelidon nilotica (Gmelin, 1789)

New York State Distribution [-]
New York is at the northern extent of the Gull-billed Tern's range and its statewide distribution is highly restricted. They are currently only known during the breeding season in small numbers from five locations off the south shore of Long Island in Nassau county and previously in southwestern Suffolk County (Levine 1998, McGowan and Corwin 2008, NYSDEC 2011). The known recent breeding locations include East Channel Islands, Cinder Islands group, Garrett marsh, Long Meadow Island, and an island off of Big Hassock (McGowan and Corwin 2008, NYSDEC 2011). The species doesn't spend the winter in New York (see Global Distribution).

Global Distribution [-]
BREEDING: The breeding range of the Gull-billed Tern includes southern California (San Diego Bay, Salton Sea), the western coast of Mexico (Sonora, Sinaloa, Baja California, Gulf of California), the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of North America from New York (Long Island; scarce north of Maryland) south to Florida and west to southern Texas (also inland); and probably also in Tamaulipas and Veracruz in eastern Mexico, the Bahamas, and Virgin Islands (Anegada, probably Sombrero, formerly Cockroach Bay); in South America (southwestern Ecuador, and from central Brazil south to northern Argentina); and in the Old World from northern Europe, central Russia, southern Mongolia, and eastern China south to northwestern Africa, Asia Minor, Iran, India, Sri Lanka, and southern China; and in Australia (Sprunt 1954, AOU 1998, Molina et al. 2009). NONBREEDING: The nonbreeding range in the Americas includes coastal areas from Nayarit, the Gulf Coast, and southern Florida south through Middle America and the West Indies to Peru and northern Argentina (AOU 1998). In the Old World, the nonbreeding range extends from tropical Africa, Persian Gulf, India, Southeast Asia, eastern China, and the Philippines south to southern Africa, Java, and Borneo; also Australia and Tasmania (AOU 1998).
Best Places to See
• Fire Island Inlet (Suffolk County)
• Hempstead Bay (Nassau County)
• Jamaica Bay (Queens County)
• Jones Beach (Nassau County)