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Common Name : Little Tern     -       Scientific Name : Sternula albifrons       -       Other Name : Punchi Muhudulihiniya (S)
Kokkare Villu

This is a common breeding resident found throughout the dry lowlands and sparingly in the wet lowland water bodies.  This species has a widespread distribution and is found from Europe across Asia to Australia. Three subspecies have been recognized.

  • S.a. albifrons – the nominate in Europe to North Africa and Western Asia
  • S.a.guineae – Western and Central Africa
  • S.a.sinensis – East Asia (including Sri Lanka) and Australia.

The conservation status of this species is regarded as Least Concerned (National Red List 2012).

This is a species protected under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance as amended by Act No. 22 of 2009.

I have seen this bird in coastal areas around the country, at large inland tanks in the dry zone such as Nuwarawewa in Anuradapura and Rjangana. In the wet zone I have seen it at water bodies in Kotte, Bellanwila Attidiya and at Anamaduwa. It is quite common in the north and I have found breeding colonies in the Adams Bridge Islands, Kora Kulam in Mannar and in the Delft Island.

It is regularly found along with Gull-billed Terns and White-winged Black Terns at Most Villus at Wilpattu National Park. They are common along the coast and one of the best places to observe them is at Kudiramale point.