© Jack Rogers
Our smallest species of tern is a common spring migrant and summer breeder throughout the state. They have distinctive yellow bills and legs, and a white patch on their forehead. Least Terns nest on undisturbed sandy beaches, gravel rooftops near the coast, and along lake and river sandbars. In fall, Florida’s Least Terns head south to the Caribbean and Central America, where they spend the winter, before returning in spring to search for suitable nesting habitat. Florida’s Least Tern population is estimated at approximately 10,000 individuals. Least Terns are state-listed as a threatened species.
Recommended GFBWT sites:
- Gulf Islands National Seashore: Fort Pickens Area and Perdido Key Area
- St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge: St. Marks Unit
Use our Trip Planning Wizard to find all the GFBWT sites where Least Terns can be found.
You can help conserve and protect Least Terns.
For more information, including a range map and sound recording, visit The Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds website.
Least terns nest on undisturbed sandy beaches, gravel rooftops near the coast, and along lake and river sandbars.