Elegant Tern

Thalasseus elegans (Gambel, 1849) ELETE 6120
Family: Charadriiformes > Laridae

An orange-billed relative of Sandwich Tern, the Elegant Tern's core breeding range is Baja California, Mexico. The species normally winters on western South American coasts, which explains why this is an extremely rare visitor to Britain & Ireland.

Select a topic for more facts and statistics about the Elegant Tern

  • Breeding
  • Winter
528 records observations recorded by BTO surveyors
528 records



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Status and Trends

Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.


This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.


We have no population estimates for this scarce species.


Elegant Tern is a very rare summer vagrant.

Weekly occurence of Elegant Tern from BirdTrack
Weekly occurrence patterns (shaded cells) and reporting rates (vertical bars) based on BirdTrack data. Reporting rates give the likelihood of encountering the species each week.


Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.


View a summary of recoveries in the Online Ringing Report.


Lifecycle and body size information about Elegant Tern, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.


Sample sizes are too small to report Productivity and Nesting statistics for this species.


For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name

Welsh: Môr-wennol Gain
Catalan: xatrac elegant
Czech: rybák západní
Danish: Aztekerterne
Dutch: Sierlijke Stern
Estonian: kalifornia tiir
Finnish: kaunotiira
French: Sterne élégante
German: Schmuckseeschwalbe
Hungarian: pompás csér
Icelandic: Skrautþerna
Irish: Geabhróg Ghalánta
Italian: Sterna elegante
Latvian: slaidais cekulzirinš
Lithuanian: grakšcioji žuvedra
Norwegian: Langnebbterne
Polish: rybitwa kalifornijska
Portuguese: garajau-elegante
Slovak: rybár pôvabný
Slovenian: prelestna cigra
Spanish: Charrán elegante
Swedish: aztektärna

Links to more information from ConservationEvidence.com

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