South American Tern (Sterna hirundinacea)

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Laridae | IUCN Status: Least Concern

Age: Adult, Alternate | Sex: Unknown | Loc. Southern Brazil

Age: Adult, Basic| Sex: Unknown | Loc. Southern Brazil

Age: Adult, Alternate | Sex: Unknown | Loc. Coast of Lima

Age: Juvenile | Sex: Unknown | Loc. Southern Brazil

Identification & Behavior: ~42 cm (16.5 in). The South American Tern in basic plumage shows a white forehead and black rest of the cap. The cap is black in the alternate plumage. It has a red bill, legs, and feet in both plumages. It is similar to the Arctic Tern, which is highly pelagic and unlikely to be seen over land.  The South American Tern is the only tern with red bill, legs, and feet most likely seen along the coast of Peru.

Status: The South American Tern is an uncommon resident in the southern half of Peru. It disperses further north during the non-breeding season. It also occurs in Ec, Br, and Ch.

Name in Spanish: Gaviotín Sudamericano.

Sub-species: South American Tern (Sterna hirundinacea), Lesson 1831.

Meaning of Name: Sterna: En. Stearn or starn= specific English name for a tern. hirundinacea: L. like a swallow.

See more of the Family Laridae   peru aves

Distribution Map
south_american ternVoice


    • Species range based on: Schulenberg, T. S., D. F. Stotz, and L. Rico. 2006. Distribution maps of the birds of Peru, version 1.0. Environment, Culture & Conservation (ECCo). The Field Museum. on 01/01/2015.