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Fairy Tern - BirdForum Opus

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Photo by Paul Tavares
Photographed: Cervantes, Western Australia, January 2006
Sternula nereis

Sterna nereis



Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia. Distribution in Australia is overlapping Little Tern.


Fairy Tern is closely related to Little Tern, Least Tern, Yellow-billed Tern, Peruvian Tern, and Saunders's Tern, and like them was formerly placed in the genus Sterna.


Photo by deedee53
Eden, New South Wales, Australia April 2008

There are 4 subspecies[1]:

  • S. n. horni:
  • S. n. nereis:
  • S. n. exsul:
  • New Caledonia
  • S. n. davisae:


Coastal and offshore waters, beaches and islands, salt lakes and estuaries.



The diet includes fish. They will rob other species of their catch.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, B.L. Sullivan, C. L. Wood, and D. Roberson. 2013. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.8., with updates to August 2013. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. BF Member observations

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