White-fronted tern

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White-fronted tern
Sterna striata -Bayswater, Auckland City, New Zealand -adults and nest-8.jpg
A pair and their nest at Bayswater, Auckland City, New Zealand
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Sternidae
Genus: Sterna
Species: S. striata
Binomial name
Sterna striata
Gmelin, 1789

The white-fronted tern (Sterna striata) is the most common tern of New Zealand. It rarely swims, apart from bathing, despite having webbed feet. The species is protected.

White-fronted terns feed in large flocks by plunge diving on shoals of smelt and pilchards which have been driven to the surface by larger fish and are easily caught. Like all terns they fly with their heads and bills pointing down to see their prey.

Breeding is between October and January in large colonies on rocky cliffs and offshore islands. Originally this occurred only in New Zealand, but since 1979 they have also bred on islands in Bass Strait, north of Tasmania. Many of the birds winter in south-eastern Australia, especially juveniles.[2]



  1. ^ BirdLife International (2013). "Sterna striata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Hutching, Gerard. "Gulls, terns and skuas – White-fronted, sooty, Antarctic and Arctic terns". Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 20 May 2012.