New York Natural Heritage Program
Black Tern
Chlidonias niger (Linnaeus, 1758)
Black Tern in breeding plumage
Family: Terns, Gulls and Relatives (Laridae)

State Protection: Endangered
A native species in imminent danger of extirpation or extinction in New York (includes any species listed as federally Endangered by the United States). It is illegal to take, import, transport, possess, or sell an animal listed as Endangered, or its parts, without a permit from NYSDEC. 1) Any native species in imminent danger of extirpation or extinction in New York. 2) Any species listed as endangered by the United States Department of the Interior.

Federal Protection: Migratory Bird Treaty Act
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act implements various treaties and conventions between the U. S. and Canada, Japan, Mexico and the former Soviet Union for the protection of migratory birds. Under this Act, taking, killing, or possessing migratory birds, including nests or eggs, is unlawful unless specifically permitted by other regulations.

State Rarity Rank: S2B
A State Rarity Rank of S2B means: Typically 6 to 20 breeding occurrences or very limited breeding acreage in New York State.

Global Rarity Rank: G4
A Global Rarity Rank of G4 means: Apparently secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.

Did you know?
This species is most appropriately considered a tropical marine bird since it spends nearly two-thirds of the year on salt water in the southern hemisphere, coming north only to breed on freshwater marshes for a brief period in the summer (Nisbet 1997).

State Ranking Justification [-]
Black Terns were listed as an endangered species in New York State in 2000 and have been declining since the mid-1960s. Prior to 1980, the tern population was comprised of over 50 different colonies with four containing more than 100 pairs each. By 2007 only 12 different marshes supported colonies, with the largest having fewer than 50 pairs (McGowan and Corwin In Press). The range contraction within New York parallels a wider regional contraction on the species' range margin in the northeastern U.S. and Canada. The causes of this decline are unresolved and ongoing.

Short-term Trends [-]

Long-term Trends [-]