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Chlidonias niger

warning Regionally Extinct

The Black Tern is classified as Regionally Extinct (RE). It became extinct subsequent to the drainage of the Hula Lake in the 1950s, and no nesting attempts of the species in Israel have been observed since then (it is now seen only as a passage migrant). In the previous edition of the Red Book (2002), it was classified as regionally extinct (RE).
RE Current Regional Assessment | RE Previous Regional Assessment | LC Global Assessment

Habitats Wetland Thickets
Presence In Israel Migrant, Summer
Breeding In Israel Bred in the past
Migration Types Long Range
Zoographical Zones Mediterranean
Landscape Types Wetlands, Fresh Water, Marsh
Vegetation Types Marsh and Riparian
Vegetation Densities Low
Nest Locations Wetland Thickets
Diet Types Invertebrate, Fish
Foraging Grounds Water
Body Sizes Small (up to 500g)
Threat Factors Wetland Drainage & Pollution

The Black Tern is a relatively small, delicate tern. Like most marsh terns, its flight is nimble and lively, and it frequently collects small insects over the water. Summer plumage is almost completely black. It has long narrow wings, a short tail and a narrow, delicate bill.

The Black Tern is a relatively rare passage migrant, more common in spring (a few tens) and an extremely rare non-breeding summer visitor in the Northern Valleys. Formerly nested in the Hula Valley; about 20 pairs nested on the northern shores of the Hula Lake until 1956. Breeding ceased subsequent to the drainage of the lake (Paz 1986, Shirihai 1996).

The Black Tern breeds in marshes, lakes and ponds surrounded by thickets of submersed and floating vegetation. The nest is built on floating vegetation or on the ground near the water.

No efforts have been made to restore the Black Tern as a breeder to Israel. The probability of the species returning to breed without specific restoration efforts is low, as there are no large water bodies with submersed and floating vegetation thickets.

The Black Tern became extinct as a breeder in Israel during the drainage of the Hula Lake, in the 1950s. The probability of the species returning to nest in Israel naturally is estimated to be low.

The Black Tern has a broad Holarctic range. It inhabits shallow, clear inland water bodies. It feeds mainly on small fish and a variety of aquatic invertebrates. Most of its populations are migratory.

  • פז, ע. 1986. עופות. מתוך אלון, ע. (עורך), החי והצומח של ארץ ישראל. כרך 6. הוצאת משרד הביטחון, ישראל.

Distribution maps

The maps presented here provide visual information on the distribution of species in Israel from the past and present, and the changes in occupancy and breeding density during the comparison period. For further reading

Relative Abundance 2010-2020

Breeding density values in the current decade as determined from experts' opinion and observations from databases.

Relative Abundance 2010-2020 by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
8 12 12 21 19

Relative Abundance 1980-1990

Density values based primarily on the book The Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996).

Relative Abundance 1980-1990 by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
5 14 14 17 22

Occupancy 1990-2020

The map shows differences in the species breeding distribution between the 1980's breeding map and the current weighted breeding evaluation. Negative value - species previously bred in the grid and is not presently breeding; positive value - species has not previously bred in the grid and is currently breeding.

Occupancy 1990-2020
Data Missing No Change Occupancy Increase Occupancy Decrease
6 35 1 9

Change in Relative Abundance 1990-2020

The map shows the changes in the relative abundance of a species in each of the distribution grids between the breeding map of the 1980s and the weighted current breeding evaluation. Negative values - decline in abundance; positive values - increase in abundance; zero - no change in abundance.

Change in Relative Abundance 1990-2020
80 to 100 50 20 to 30 No Change 30- to 20- 50- 100- to 80- Data Missing
0 4 2 22 12 14 11 16

Red number
IUCN category
Threat Definition according to the red book
() districts
% of protected sites

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