Kerguelen tern

The Kerguelen tern (Sterna virgata) is a tern of the southern hemisphere.

Kerguelen tern
Sterne de Kerguelen.jpg
Kerguelen tern
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Laridae
Genus: Sterna
S. virgata
Binomial name
Sterna virgata
Cabanis, 1875

This seabird mainly breeds colonially in the Kerguelen Islands, as its common name implies. However, smaller colonies are also found in the Prince Edward Islands (i.e. Prince Edward and Marion) and Crozet Islands. The total number of individuals is from 3,500–6,500 birds, although there is no recent data from the main colony at Kerguelen. These birds do not inhabit Kerguelen proper, instead nesting on islets free of feral cats. During bad weather, they are known to abandon their colonies.

Kerguelen terns are among the least-ranging of all typical terns. They generally do not reach far into the seas near their breeding grounds.

These birds eat fish and marine invertebrates, especially those found in beds of the seaweed Macrocystis spp. They sometimes also hunt insects on land and catch fish from rivers on Kerguelen.

There are two subspecies:[2]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Sterna virgata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2019). "Noddies, gulls, terns, auks". World Bird List Version 9.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 24 June 2019.