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Terns

Group: 
Birds

A little like gulls and easily mistaken. They dive in to the sea to catch small fish.

The information about this group of species has been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Sites List Records List Original Tweets Guidance Notes

Sandwich Tern

Sterna sandvicensis
Click species photo for details of this species:

Summer migrants arriving in April and leaving in September. Whilst here they can be seen patrolling the sea just off shore for sand eels.


 

Roseate Tern

Sterna dougallii
Click species photo for details of this species:

A scarce but regular visitor to Dorset, especially at Brownsea lagoon.


 

 

Photo by:
Wawlee

Common Tern

Sterna hirundo
Click species photo for details of this species:

A summer visitor to coastal habitats to breed.


 

Arctic Tern

Sterna paradisaea
Click species photo for details of this species:

Difficult to distinguish from the common tern but arctic terns only pass through Dorset on migration.


 

 

Photo by:
Internet Open Source

Little Tern

Sterna albifrons
Click species photo for details of this species:

Nationally scarce Dorset is one of the few places that the little gull nests.


 

 

Black Tern

Chlidonias niger
Click species photo for details of this species:

A mainland European species that occasionally ventures north into the British Isles and can be seen in Dorset on such occasions.


 

 

Photo by:
Ian Ballam

These much rarer species have also been recorded in Dorset:

Click/tap the species common name if you want to see more information.

Species Common Name Scientific Name Status
Elegant Tern Thalasseus elegans

Breeds on the Pacific coast of America and yet an occasional visitor to Britain and very rarely to Dorset.