Black Tern (Chlidonias niger) - Special Concern

The Black Tern is a small, boldly marked water bird, about 20 to 26 centimetres long, with a black head and under parts during the breeding season. Like other terns, the Black Tern has a forked tail, straight pointed bill, slender shape and long, narrow wings. Black Terns eat mainly insects, hovering just above the water as they pick their prey off the surface. Black Terns build floating nests in loose colonies in shallow marshes, especially in cattails. In winter they migrate to the coast of northern South America. 

Ontario population: between 2,873 and 14,996 breeding pairs

Threats to this Species: Threats include the draining and altering of wetlands, water pollution and human disturbance at nesting colonies – especially boat traffic, which can swamp the terns’ floating nests.

Fun Fact: Their eggs have porous shells to be able to live on their wet environment.



Want to learn more about local bird species? Visit Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory's website for more info!

Want to learn more about birds across Canada? Visit the Birds Canada website for more info!



Species descriptions are from the Species at Risk in Ontario website.