IUCN Species of the Day: Chinese Crested Tern


The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(tm)

Photo credit: Michelle and Peter Wong


The Chinese Crested Tern, Sterna bernsteini, is listed as ‘CRITICALLY ENDANGERED’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. This seabird was previously feared to be extinct but was rediscovered in 2000 when, for the first time, its breeding grounds were located. Exclusively coastal, the Chinese Crested Tern only breeds in China and Taiwan on offshore islets and tidal mudflats.

The total population is estimated to be fewer than 50 individuals. The future of this species is threatened by egg-collection (it nests in colonies of other seabirds and collectors do not realise how rare it is) and human disturbance. Other threats include the effects of predatory species such as rats, and the risk of water pollution that affect the terns’ food sources.

The Chinese Crested Tern is nationally protected in China and Thailand, and the nesting habitat is patrolled in the breeding season. This has served as an effective deterrent to egg collectors. Programmes to raise local awareness of this bird, and address socio-economic factors relating to its conservation, are being developed.


Geographic Range of the Chinese Crested TernCredit: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™


To learn more about the Chinese Crested Tern, click here.  Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ by clicking their logo below.


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To learn more about the Bush Warriors “Species of the Day” feature, please click here and read up on our initiative to raise awareness about the loss of earth’s biodiversity.