The official website of the Elkhorn Slough Foundation and Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
Elkhorn Slough Birds: Caspian Tern

Scientific Name:
Sterna caspia


Found at the Slough:
Tidal wetlands, islands with low vegetation in salt marsh

Did you know...
Caspian terns are the world's largest tern species.

The Caspian Tern is a large gull-like tern with a black cap and a large, thick coral red bill with black tip. The world’s largest tern species and is found on all continents except for Antarctica. Population is increasing in North America, declining in Europe and Africa, extinct or rare in parts of its former range.

They dine on a diet of fish and here at the slough they have been observed eating anchovy, silversides, shiner surfperch, topsmelt, sculpin, and crayfish.

They winter along coastlines and inland along rivers, lakes, and marshes and usually nest in colonies. The birds can be quite loud during nesting, especially if threatened by humans or an intruder.

Here at the slough they have nested in the past on a small island in the South Marsh area. Since 2004 no nesting activity has been observed although birds have been seen in the area. Read the whole story here.

The Caspian Tern currently has the status of "Least Concern" on the IUCN Red List.

More information:
Find out more about caspian terns in Elkhorn Slough and the efforts of researchers studying these birds: Caspian Tern research and monitoring.



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This site is maintained by the Elkhorn Slough Foundation in partnership with the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve