Little Terns
Little Tern
Little Tern
Scientific Name 
Sternula albifrons
Arabic Name 
الخرشنة الصغيرة
Kuwaiti name 
55.0 cm
24.0 cm
Least Concern


Common passage migrant and summer visitor; rare winter visitor. There is a chance this tiny tern may breed in Kuwait’s part of the Mesopotamian Delta. Care must be taken not to confuse it with the very similar Saunder’s Tern that is not yet confirmed to visit Kuwait.
Where in Kuwait 
It frequents outfalls, coastal habitat and harbours but may also be found foraging at sea up to 15 km offshore. It is also recorded occasionally on brackish inland pools in the Jahra area
In the world 
It has an extremely large range with a decreasing population and is a strongly migratory coastal seabird. Outside of the breeding season, it expands its range to include most of the coast of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the western Indian and Pacific Oceans. It usually fishes in very shallow water only a few centimetres deep, often over the advancing tideline or in brackish lagoons and saltmarsh creeks. It has the most inshore distribution of all terns. After locating prey, it hovers above the water and catches its prey by plunging into water from around three to ten metres.
Local threats 
Marine oil spills and pollution and habitat destruction