Bridled Tern: Seasonal Occurrence & Geographic Distribution

Bridled Tern Sterna anaethetus

Status: Fairly common to common summer resident (May-November) to offshore and pelagic waters. Pelagic birding trips during the 1990’s turned up numerous birds during the summer seasons, and the species was removed from Texas Review Species in 1997. May be found singly, in small flocks, or in large feeding congregations, sometimes with Sooty Terns. Very rare along the coast following tropical storms.

Habitat: pelagic waters. Often found perched on driftwood, along Sargassum weed lines, and other floating material.

Similar Species: Similar to Sooty Tern. Although the color of the wings and upperparts is an important first clue, it is helpful to use a combination of field marks before making an identification. Bridled Tern differs from the slightly larger Sooty Tern by the combination of dark gray (not black) wings and upperparts, more extensive white outer tail feathers, and whiter forehead. Juveniles are very white-headed (juvenile Sooties are completely black). Unlike Sooty Tern, Bridled is often found perched on floating debris, especially along weed lines.

© Copyright  Brad McKinney  31 October 31, 2004 (Status updated by Garett Hodne Nov 2014)


The graph below shows the number and date of all Bridled Tern sightings on all Texas Pelagics from 1992 to 2014:

BRTE Graph



This map shows the geographic distribution of Bridled Tern sightings on 27 Texas Pelagics mostly from South Padre Island, but also includes 1 trip from Port Aransas and 2 trips from Port O’Connor. Sighting coordinates from the remaining 25 + Texas Pelagics are not available.

Bridled Terns are predominately found over the deep pelagic waters but occasionally move onto the shelf.


View Pelagic Terns in a larger map

Click on the box in the upper left of the map to view the map legend.

Click on each sighting symbol and the data label will appear showing the time, date and the number of birds seen.

Click on the link on the bottom of the map to view a larger map.


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