The Little Tern is the smallest of the Tern family. The terns look all very similar to each other and identification can sometimes be difficult. This species of tern however has a dark grey back with a black band from the crest to the bill.


As a seabird this species prefers to live near the coast in sheltered environments. They rarely ventures more than a few kilometers away from their nests to feed. They can be found throughout Africa, Asia, Australasia and Europe.


Little Terns are diving birds that eat sand eels, small herring and invertebrates such as shrimp.

Predators & Threats

This species of tern has many predators including; silver hulls, crows, red foxes and common domestic animals.


  • This species is listed on Schedule 1 Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 due to their decline in numbers.
  • They can migrate upto 5,000km in one year.


Common Name(s)Scientific Name
 Little Tern Sternula albifrons
20 cm.
 10 – 12 years.

Best Time to Look

April – September

Where to find Little Tern