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BIRD OF THE WEEK
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Sterna dougallii
POPULATION: About 24,000 adults (North America)
TREND: Stable worldwide; population in northeast U.S. listed as endangered; other U.S. populations threatenend
HABITAT: Barrier islands, coastal salt marshes
The Roseate Tern is a medium-sized tern with a deeply forked tail that sports long white plumes when the bird is in breeding plumage. The species’ common name reflects the delicate pinkish wash visible on the birds’ chests when plumage is fresh.
Like the Gull-billed Tern, the Roseate Tern has a worldwide distribution, from Europe to Africa to Australia. Roseate Terns are divided into four subspecies based on small differences in size and bill color.