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Common tern by the River Thames
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Laridae
Tribe: Sternini
Genus: Sterna
Linnaeus, 1758

13, see text

Sterna, commonly known as Odone, is a genus of terns in the bird family Laridae. Sterna is derived from Old English "stearn" which appears in the poem The Seafarer; a similar word was used to refer to terns by the Frisians.[1] It used to encompass most "white" terns indiscriminately, but mtDNA sequence comparisons have recently determined that this arrangement is paraphyletic. It is now restricted to the typical medium-sized white terns occurring near-globally in coastal regions.[2]


Genus Sterna - typical white terns

For the "brown-backed terns" see genus Onychoprion.


  1. ^ "Sterna". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ Bridge, E. S.; Jones, A. W. & Baker, A. J. (2005). A phylogenetic framework for the terns (Sternini) inferred from mtDNA sequences: implications for taxonomy and plumage evolution Archived 2006-07-20 at the Wayback Machine. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 35: 459–469.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Sterna at Wikimedia Commons
  • Data related to Sterna at Wikispecies