Roseate Tern

Species Name: Sterna dougallii


Species Distribution in Massachusetts


Federal Rank: Endangered

Massachusetts State Rank: Endangered

Habitat Description

Nests in Buzzards Bay and breed around Cape Cod and the Islands. They generally nest on sandy, gravelly, or rocky islands with dense vegetation or large boulders to use for cover.

Threats to Survival

Predation. Mammals, snakes, ants, land crabs, humans, and other birds prey on Roseate Tern adults, chicks, and eggs. Roseate Terns are also quick to abandon their colonies at night, prolonging incubation periods for the eggs and exposing them to predation and the elements.

Actions Recommended to Ensure Survival

Signs, wardens, and exclusion of visitors are used to protect Roseate Tern habitats, and structures such as wooden boxes and partially buried tires are placed for nesting sites. Restoring Common Terns is instrumental to restoring the Roseate Tern, as they tend to nest together. It is also necessary to control vegetation when it becomes too dense for adults to access nests.