Current status:

Species of moderate concern in the North American Waterbird Conservation Plan; California Bird Species of Special Concern

Habitat:

Nests in shallow, highly productive emergent wetlands or their equivalents. In northeastern California, breeds primarily in low-stature spikerush or juncus marshes. In the Central Valley, most birds now breed in cultivated rice fields.  Breeding is infrequent in managed marshes in the Sacramento Valley; and, mainly in very wet years, in other flooded agricultural fields with residual crops or weeds or other low-stature wetlands in the San Joaquin Valley.  Birds migrate broadly across North and Middle America to wintering grounds mainly in marine and marine-coastal areas of Middle and northern South America.

Causes of decline:

Habitat loss and population declines, particularly in the Central Valley of California

Current primary threat(s):

Shortages or inappropriate timing of water delivery to refuges and agricultural areas leading to reduced breeding habitat for terns; disturbance from human recreation in wetland areas during breeding months 

What we’re doing about it:

Point Blue scientists have conducted surveys to document the size of the population, and species distribution in California, as well as broad-scale patterns of habitat use. We also work to get the word out through publications in journals, species designation as a species of special concern, inclusion in California Bird Conservation Region 32 waterbird conservation plan, creation of a brochure for California Rice Commission, etc.

Learn more:

Read the Black Tern Species Account by Point Blue's W. David Shuford in the California Bird Species of Special Concern publication.

Read the publication, Breeding Status of the Black tern in California, Shuford et.al, Western Birds 32:189-217, 2001

View, download and share the Black Tern California Rice Species in Focus brochure co-created by Point Blue staff and the California Rice Commission.

How you can Help:

View, download and share the Black Tern California Rice Species in Focus brochure co-created by Point Blue staff and the California Rice Commission.

Support restoration, preservation and conservation work of wetland areas in California and beyond.

Support protection of key stopover areas, such as Tule Lake and the Salton Sea.

Support research of Black Tern ecology in California.