New York Natural Heritage Program
Forster's Tern
Sterna forsteri Nuttall, 1834
Birds

Habitat [-]
In New York, Forster's Terns nest on marsh islands located in bays off the south shore of Long Island (Connor 1988b, McGowan and Corwin 2008, Sommers et al. 2001). They often nest on wrack material that has been been deposited on top of cordgrass stands during flooding and storms (Martin and Zwank 1987). This material is useful because it is elevated higher than the usual high water line and may float during floods (McGowan and Corwin 2008).

Associated Ecological Communities [-]
  • High salt marsh
    A coastal marsh community that occurs in sheltered areas of the seacoast, in a zone extending from mean high tide up to the limit of spring tides. It is periodically flooded by spring tides and flood tides. High salt marshes typically consist of a mosaic of patches that are mostly dominated by a single graminoid species.
  • Low salt marsh
    A coastal marsh community that occurs in sheltered areas of the seacoast, in a zone extending from mean high tide down to mean sea level or to about 2 m (6 ft) below mean high tide. It is regularly flooded by semidiurnal tides. The mean tidal range of low salt marshes on Long Island is about 80 cm, and they often form in basins with a depth of 1.6 m or greater.
  • Salt panne
    A shallow depression in a salt marsh where the marsh is poorly drained. Pannes occur in both low and high salt marshes. Pannes in low salt marshes usually lack vegetation, and the substrate is a soft, silty mud. Pannes in a high salt marsh are irregularly flooded by spring tides or flood tides, but the water does not drain into tidal creeks. After a panne has been flooded the standing water evaporates and the salinity of the soil water is raised well above the salinity of sea-water.

Associated Species [-]
  • Laughing Gull (Larus atricilla)
  • Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)