Terns (Sternidae)

Sooty Tern (Sterna fuscata) - HBW 3, p. 661

French: Sterne fuligineuse German: Rußseeschwalbe Spanish: Charrán Sombrío
Other common names: Wideawake (Tern)

Taxonomy: Sterna fuscata Linnaeus, 1766, Santo Domingo.
Formerly united with S. anaethetus and S. lunata in separate genus Haliplana or Onychoprion. Geographical variation subtle: separation of races crissalis, infuscata and serrata probably not warranted; validity of proposed form somaliensis, possibly endemic to Mait I (Gulf of Aden), requires study. Eight subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • fuscata Linnaeus, 1766 - Gulf of Mexico, including West Indies and E Mexico, with sporadic isolated nesting attempts in the Carolinas and Florida, more regularly in Louisiana and Texas; also islands in Gulf of Guinea and in S Atlantic.
  • nubilosa Sparrman, 1788 - S Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean E to Ryukyu Is and Philippines.
  • infuscata Lichtenstein, 1823 - C Indonesia (range uncertain).

     See all 8 subspecies
  • fuscata Linnaeus, 1766 - Gulf of Mexico, including West Indies and E Mexico, with sporadic isolated nesting attempts in the Carolinas and Florida, more regularly in Louisiana and Texas; also islands in Gulf of Guinea and in S Atlantic.
  • nubilosa Sparrman, 1788 - S Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean E to Ryukyu Is and Philippines.
  • infuscata Lichtenstein, 1823 - C Indonesia (range uncertain).
  • serrata Wagler, 1830 - New Guinea, Australia and New Caledonia.
  • kermadeci (Mathews, 1916) - Kermadec Is.
  • oahuensis Bloxham, 1826 - Bonin Is to Hawaii and S through Pacific.
  • crissalis (Lawrence, 1872) - islands off W Mexico and Central America S to Galapagos.
  • luctuosa Philippi & Landbeck, 1866 - Juan Fernández Is (Chile).