New York Natural Heritage Program
Forster's Tern
Sterna forsteri Nuttall, 1834
Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri) Dick Daniels
Family: Terns, Gulls and Relatives (Laridae)

State Protection: Protected Bird
Defined as a Protected Bird by New York State law. This species may not be hunted or taken at any time in New York.

Federal Protection: Not Listed

State Rarity Rank: S1
A State Rarity Rank of S1 means: Typically 5 or fewer occurrences, very few remaining individuals, acres, or miles of stream, or some factor of its biology makes it especially vulnerable in New York State.

Global Rarity Rank: G5
A Global Rarity Rank of G5 means: Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.

Did you know?
Forster's Terns are the only terns whose summer (breeding) and winter (non-breeding) ranges and migration range are located almost completely in North America.

State Ranking Justification [-]
Forster's Terns are a recent addition to New York's avifauna with the first nest found in the state in 1981 (Levine 1998). New York is the northern extent of their eastern range. They are currently threatened by habitat loss and historically, in parts of their range, populations have likely been affected environmental toxins (1960s-1970s) and hunting for feather collection by the millinery trade, or hat making industry (1880s). As populations increase in New York they may be restricted by habitat availability, human disturbance and rising sea-levels due to climate change.

Short-term Trends [-]

Long-term Trends [-]