Snowy-crowned Tern Sterna trudeaui


Snowy-crowned Tern is a striking species of South American near-coast marshes and inshore marine waters.  Typically, it is found from Rio de Janeiro south to central Argentina along the Atlantic Coast, and in central Chile along the Pacific Coast as well. Incredibly, and perhaps incorrectly, the type specimen of Snowy-crowned Tern was reported by Audubon as being from Cape May, New Jersey, USA (though there are no widely accepted North American records). Though it behaves generally like other Sterna terns, this species is unusual in structure, having a rather large, blocky head and a thick neck.  The Snowy-crowned Tern is pale gray overall with a small black eye mask instead of the typical Sterna cap, an orange bill with a black band in the breeding season (black with pale tip in non-breeding), long, pearly white wings, and orange legs.

Help complete this species

There are many ways to contribute—we need species information, photographs, audio, video, translations, maps, distribution data, and bird sightings. There's a role for everyone!

Learn more


© Emiliano Depino

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Snowy-crowned Tern (Sterna trudeaui), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: