New York Natural Heritage Program
Roseate Tern
Sterna dougallii Montagu, 1813

New York State Distribution [-]
The Roseate Tern's breeding distribution is highly localized throughout its range. Breeding in New York is confined to between 5 and 10 locations on Long Island annually (McGowan and Corwin 2008). It occurs inland only accidentally. Great Gull Island, is the largest colony in the state by far and a globally significant colony, due to the numbers that breed there. Cartwright Island was the next largest colony but it exisits on a sandbar that has been underwater in recent years.

Global Distribution [-]
The distribution of the Roseate Tern is widespread and includes the Atlantic, Indian, and southwestern Pacific oceans. BREEDING: Their breeding range extends locally along Atlantic coast of North America, mainly from Quebec to New York; also Dry Tortugas, Florida Keys, Bahamas (Sprunt 1984), and other islands of West Indies, islands off Venezuela, and islands off the northern coast of Honduras and Belize (Spendelow and Patton 1988). In northeastern North America, over 90% of the breeding population is concentrated in three colonies: Great Gull Island in NY, and Bird and Ram Islands in MA. The species also occurs in the Old World. NON-BREEDING: Roseate Terns overwinter in the Americas, primarily along the Brazilian coast (Hays et al. 1997, 1999).
Best Places to See
• Most breeding locations are on privately owned islands.
• Shinnecock Inlet (Suffolk County)