Sternula antillarum athalassos - (Burleigh and Lowery, 1942)
Interior Least Tern
Synonym(s): Sterna antillarum athalassos Burleigh and Lowery, 1942
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.103386
Element Code: ABNNM08102
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Other Birds
Image 12063

Public Domain

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Charadriiformes Laridae Sternula
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1957. The A.O.U. Check-list of North American Birds, 5th ed. Port City Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD. 691 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B57AOU01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Sterna antillarum athalassos
Taxonomic Comments: Formerly (AOU 1983, 1998) included in the genus Sterna but separated on the basis of genetic data that correspond to plumage patterns (Bridge et al. 2005).

Thompson et al. (1992) examined morphological and electrophoretic variation and found little evidence of differentiation among populations of the nominal subspecies antillarum, athalassos, and browni; they recommended that the subspecific taxonomy of the S. antillarum complex be reassessed. Johnson et al. (1998) used a quantitative colorimetry analysis to study variation among antillarum, athalassos, and browni and found differences significant enough to warrant the validity of the taxa and their importance as entities for conservation.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4T2Q
Global Status Last Reviewed: 27Nov1996
Global Status Last Changed: 27Nov1996
Rounded Global Status: T2 - Imperiled
Reasons: Interior populations of the Least Tern, formerly well distributed in the Mississippi Basin, now survive only in scattered remnants; habitat has been decimated by extensive water management projects and increased use of beaches and sandbars; interior populations generally are not recognized as a distinct taxonomic entity; see files for S. ANTILLARUM.
Nation: United States
National Status: NNR
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNR

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Arkansas (S3B), Colorado (S1B), Illinois (SNR), Indiana (S1B), Iowa (S1B,S1N), Kansas (S1B), Kentucky (S2B), Louisiana (S1B), Mississippi (S2B), Missouri (S1), Montana (SNR), Nebraska (S2), New Mexico (S1B,S2N), North Dakota (SNR), Ohio (SX), Oklahoma (S2B), South Dakota (S2B), Tennessee (S2S3B), Texas (S1B)

Other Statuses

Implied Status under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): PS:LE
Comments on USESA: Listed by USFWS as Endangered with the following caveats: Louisiana, Mississippi River and tributaries north of Baton Rouge; Mississippi, Mississippi River only, and Texas, everywhere except the Texas coast and a 50 mile zone inland from the the coast (May 28, 1985; Federal Register 50:21792).

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R3 - North Central

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: BREEDING: Locally along the Colorado, Red, Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, and Mississippi river systems; formerly more widespread and common; has been eliminated from much of former habitat; now breeds locally in this region, north to Montana and North Dakota, east to southwestern Indiana, central Kentucky, and western Tennessee, west to eastern Colorado.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
Help
Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDING: Locally along the Colorado, Red, Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, and Mississippi river systems; formerly more widespread and common; has been eliminated from much of former habitat; now breeds locally in this region, north to Montana and North Dakota, east to southwestern Indiana, central Kentucky, and western Tennessee, west to eastern Colorado.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations, but breeds in a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AR, CO, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MO, MS, MT, ND, NE, NM, OHextirpated, OK, SD, TN, TX

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AR Arkansas (05001), Chicot (05017), Conway (05029), Crawford (05033), Crittenden (05035), Desha (05041), Faulkner (05045), Hempstead (05057), Jefferson (05069), Johnson (05071), Lafayette (05073), Lee (05077), Lincoln (05079), Little River (05081), Logan (05083), Miller (05091), Mississippi (05093), Perry (05105), Phillips (05107), Pope (05115), Pulaski (05119), Sebastian (05131), Yell (05149)
IA Woodbury (19193)
IN Dearborn (18029), Gibson (18051), Greene (18055), Posey (18129), Spencer (18147)
KY Ballard (21007), Carlisle (21039), Fulton (21075), Hancock (21091), Hickman (21105), Jefferson (21111)*, Livingston (21139), Marshall (21157), McCracken (21145), Union (21225)
LA Bossier (22015), Caddo (22017), Concordia (22029), East Carroll (22035), Madison (22065), Natchitoches (22069), Red River (22081), Tensas (22107)
MO Cape Girardeau (29031), Chariton (29041), Mississippi (29133), New Madrid (29143), Pemiscot (29155), Perry (29157), Scott (29201)
MS Adams (28001), Bolivar (28011), Coahoma (28027), DeSoto (28033), Issaquena (28055), Jefferson (28063), Tunica (28143), Warren (28149), Washington (28151)
NE Arthur (31005), Blaine (31009), Boone (31011), Boyd (31015), Brown (31017), Buffalo (31019), Burt (31021), Butler (31023), Cass (31025), Cedar (31027), Colfax (31037), Cuming (31039), Custer (31041), Dawson (31047), Dixon (31051), Dodge (31053), Douglas (31055), Hall (31079), Hamilton (31081), Holt (31089), Howard (31093), Keith (31101), Keya Paha (31103), Knox (31107), Lincoln (31111), Madison (31119), Merrick (31121), Nance (31125), Phelps (31137), Platte (31141), Polk (31143), Rock (31149), Sarpy (31153), Saunders (31155), Sherman (31163), Stanton (31167), Valley (31175)
NM Chaves (35005), Otero (35035)
SD Bon Homme (46009), Campbell (46021), Charles Mix (46023), Clay (46027), Corson (46031), Dewey (46041), Gregory (46053), Haakon (46055), Hughes (46065), Meade (46093), Pennington (46103), Potter (46107), Stanley (46117), Sully (46119), Union (46127), Walworth (46129), Yankton (46135), Ziebach (46137)
TN Dyer (47045), Lake (47095), Lauderdale (47097), Shelby (47157), Tipton (47167)
TX Baylor (48023), Childress (48075), Coke (48081), Dallas (48113), Freestone (48161), Grayson (48181), Hall (48191), Hemphill (48211), Leon (48289), Red River (48387), Roberts (48393), Starr (48427), Tom Green (48451), Val Verde (48465), Webb (48479), Wilbarger (48487), Zapata (48505)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
05 Lower Great Miami (05080002)+, Middle Ohio-Laughery (05090203)+, Lower Wabash (05120113)+, Lower White (05120202)+, Patoka (05120209)+, Silver-Little Kentucky (05140101)+*, Lower Ohio-Little Pigeon (05140201)+, Highland-Pigeon (05140202)+, Lower Ohio-Bay (05140203)+, Lower Ohio (05140206)+
06 Lower Tennessee (06040006)+
07 Upper Mississippi-Cape Girardeau (07140105)+
08 Lower Mississippi-Memphis (08010100)+, Bayou De Chien-Mayfield (08010201)+*, Obion (08010202)+, Horn Lake-Nonconnah (08010211)+, Lower Mississippi-Helena (08020100)+, New Madrid-St. Johns (08020201)+, Lower Arkansas (08020401)+, Lower Mississippi-Greenville (08030100)+, Coldwater (08030204)+, Tensas (08050003)+, Lower Mississippi-Natchez (08060100)+
10 Middle Cheyenne-Elk (10120111)+, Lower Cheyenne (10120112)+, Upper Lake Oahe (10130102)+, Lower Lake Oahe (10130105)+, Fort Randall Reservoir (10140101)+, Middle Niobrara (10150004)+, Lower Niobrara (10150007)+, Lewis and Clark Lake (10170101)+, Lower North Platte (10180014)+, Lower South Platte (10190018)+, Middle Platte-Buffalo (10200101)+, Wood (10200102)+, Middle Platte-Prairie (10200103)+, Lower Platte-Shell (10200201)+, Lower Platte (10200202)+, Salt (10200203)+, Dismal (10210002)+, Lower Middle Loup (10210003)+, Lower North Loup (10210007)+, Loup (10210009)+, Cedar (10210010)+, Upper Elkhorn (10220001)+, Lower Elkhorn (10220003)+, Blackbird-Soldier (10230001)+, Keg-Weeping Water (10240001)+, Lower Grand (10280103)+
11 Middle Canadian-Spring (11090106)+, Frog-Mulberry (11110201)+, Dardanelle Reservoir (11110202)+, Lake Conway-Point Remove (11110203)+, Lower Arkansas-Maumelle (11110207)+, Lower Prairie Dog Town Fork Red (11120105)+, Wichita (11130206)+, Southern Beaver (11130207)+, Lake Texoma (11130210)+, Bois D'arc-Island (11140101)+, Pecan-Waterhole (11140106)+, Mckinney-Posten Bayous (11140201)+, Middle Red-Coushatta (11140202)+, Red Chute (11140204)+, Bayou Pierre (11140206)+, Lower Red-Lake Iatt (11140207)+
12 Upper Trinity (12030105)+, Lower Trinity-Tehuacana (12030201)+, Navasota (12070103)+, Upper Colorado (12080008)+, North Concho (12090104)+
13 Amistad Reservoir (13040212)+, Lower Devils (13040302)+, Tularosa Valley (13050003)+, Upper Pecos-Long Arroyo (13060007)+, Elm-Sycamore (13080001)+, San Ambrosia-Santa Isabel (13080002)+, International Falcon Reservoir (13080003)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A small, gray, white, and black water bird (interior population of least tern).
Habitat Type: Terrestrial
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): BIG RIVER, MEDIUM RIVER
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Sand/dune
Habitat Comments: Wide river channels dotted with barren to sparsely vegetated sandbars are preferred habitat for interior least terns (USFWS 2014).  Interior least terns also nest along sand and gravel pits, lake and reservoir shorelines, and occasionally gravel rooftops (USFWS 2014).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 22Feb1995
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 11Mar1996
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): HAMMERSON, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
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  • Atwood, J. L., and B. W. Massey. 1988. Site fidelity of least terns in California. Condor 90:389-394.

  • Atwood, J.L. 1986. Delayed nocturnal occupation of breed- ing colonies by least terns (Sterna antillarum). AUK 103(1):242-244.

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  • Burger, J. 1984. Colony stability in least terns. Condor 86:61-67.

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Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

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