Skip Navigation

Black Tern

Chlidonias niger
Black Tern Profile
This small tern nests in colonies on several of the large permanent wetlands of the refuge. Colonies range in size from as small as 6 pairs to over a 100 pairs. Nests are typically found on floating mats of dead cattails and hardstem bulrush on the edge of emergent plant stands. Nest consists of a few pieces of vegetation arranged to keep the eggs together and typically contain 3-4 eggs. These nests are easily disturbed by people approaching by boat. The wake of a boat can easily dislodge eggs from the nest. You know you are near a colony when several black terns started squawking and diving at you. Black terns feed on aquatic insects, fish and amphibian larvae captured by plucking them off the water surface while hovering or by diving just below the water surface from several feet above the wetlands.
 

Facts About Black Tern

Length: 9-10"

Wingspan: 22-24" 

A colonial, over water nester 

Flocks can range from a few birds to thousands 

Last Updated: Jan 31, 2013
Return to main navigation