Sandwich Tern


The Sandwich Tern is an uncommon species in Texas - between 2001-2011 there were between 8925 (2001) and 3186 (2007) pairs reported in the Texas Colonial Waterbird Society survey. Number of nests varied during this time period with a high of 5282 nests reported in 2011 and a low of 478 nests in 2006.

Sandwich Terns can commonly be found nesting with Royal Terns, Laughing Gulls, Forster’s Terns or Black Skimmers. Along the Gulf Coast, the species will use artificial dredge spoil and natural barrier islands for nesting, preferably those with sparse vegetation and open, exposed areas. Sandwich Terns are noted to commonly feed within 2 km from shore, but are thought in Texas to feed farther out than other Sterna terns in open Gulf waters rather than bays and estuaries.  Throughout their range, it is believed that Sandwich Terns prefer shallow (<20m) water as foraging habitat, partially based on analysis of regurgitations and fish fed to chicks. 

For more information on Sandwich Terns, including identifaction tips, visit their page on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Text References

  1. Oberholser 1974
  2. Shealer 1999
  3. TCWS 2011

How you can help, right now