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For other uses, see Sterna (disambiguation).
Common tern by the River Thames
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Sternidae
Genus: Sterna
Linnaeus, 1758

Many, see text.

Sterna is a genus of terns in the bird family Sternidae. It used to encompass most "white" terns indiscriminately, but mtDNA sequence comparisons have recently determined that this arrangement is paraphyletic (Bridge et al., 2005). It is now restricted to the typical medium-sized white terns occurring near-globally in coastal regions.


Genus Sterna - typical white terns

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


  • 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. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 35: 459–469. PDF fulltext.

External links[edit]

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