Sternidae, Vigors, 1825

Somenzari, Marina, Amaral, Priscilla Prudente do, Cueto, Víctor R., Guaraldo, André de Camargo, Jahn, Alex E., Lima, Diego Mendes, Lima, Pedro Cerqueira, Lugarini, Camile, Machado, Caio Graco, Martinez, Jaime, Nascimento, João Luiz Xavier do, Pacheco, José Fernando, Paludo, Danielle, Prestes, Nêmora Pauletti, Serafini, Patrícia Pereira, Silveira, Luís Fábio, Sousa, Antônio Emanuel Barreto Alves de, Sousa, Nathália Alves de, Souza, Manuella Andrade de, Telino-Júnior, Wallace Rodrigues & Whitney, Bret Myers, 2018, An overview of migratory birds in Brazil, Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia 58, pp. 1-66: 26-27

publication ID 10.11606/1807-0205/2018.58.03

persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name




Sternula antillarum (MPR)   : breeds from April to July on the east coast of the USA, it migrates to the Caribbean and South America, and overwinters mainly in Brazil ( Gochfeld & Burger, 1996) according to data from two individuals banded in the USA and recovered in AL in January ( Olmos, 2002a). However, there is a breeding colony on Curupu Island/MA monitored between May and July ( Rodrigues et al., 2010) that suggests that there are possibly two populations in Brazil and their limits are not yet known. This way, occurrence data in Brazil may include birds both from the Brazilian populations and migrants from the Northern Hemisphere. There are records for AP between October and April ( Xavier & Boss, 2011; WikiAves, 2016) that are probably individuals from North America, and for PA between May and October ( Valente, 2011; WikiAves, 2016; MPEG) that would belong to the Brazilian population. In the Northeast region, there are records or BA ( Lima, 2006), PE ( Azevedo-Júnior & Larrazábal, 2011a), SE and AL ( Azevedo-Júnior & Larrazábal, 2011b), from September to May (WikiAves, 2016; MZUSP), which suggests that these are records of the north population. Records for CE, RN ( Girão et al., 2008; Albano & Girão, 2011; Girão & Albano, 2011a) and MA are distributed in all months of the year (WikiAves, 2016), which suggests that there is an overlap of migratory and resident individuals. In RS, records are probably of migrants and from November to April (WikiAves, 2016).

Gelochelidon nilotica (MPR)   : occurs in tropical and subtropical seas in all continents. Birds from eastern USA migrate to southeastern USA and to the Gulf of Mexico. Some individuals cross to the Pacific, while others overwinter along Costa Rica or reach southern Brazil and Peru ( Gochfeld & Burger, 1996). It is usually not common in most of Brazil and its distribution is disjunct and centered in two different areas:through the coast from the estuary of the Amazon River (including Mexiana and Marajó islands/PA) to RN; and in coastal lagoons, rice fields and swamps in southern Brazil (RS), and this second population is contiguous to the ones in Uruguay and Argentina. There are few records of breeding activity in Brazil ( De Luca et al., 2006), and most records of nesting are old. This species nests in the estuary of the Amazon River in August ( Sick, 1997) and in RS between November and January ( Belton, 1994). Photographic records confirm the disjunct distribution pattern and show its presence in the Northeast all year round, which suggests that part of the Brazilian population is resident, but records in RS are restricted from September to May (WikiAves, 2016). There are also documented records in inland Brazil, such as in MG ( Nóbrega et al., 2015) and in the Amazon River channel, where it might breed ( Kirwan et al., 2012).

Sterna hirundinacea (MPR)   : occurs from the south coast of Peru and southeastern Brazil to Tierra del Fuego and on the Malvinas /Falklands. During winter, its distribution expands further north to southern Ecuador on the Pacific coast and to BA on the Atlantic coast (Gochfeld & Burg- er, 1996). There are two breeding populations on the Atlantic coast. The population from southern Uruguay and Argentina breeds every year from December to February during austral summer and then migrates north and arrives in Brazil from April to May to winter possibly between the coast of RJ and southern BA. The Brazilian population from SC to ES begins breeding activities in April-May ( Antas, 1987). There are also records of breeding activity on coastal islands from RJ ( Coelho et al., 1990) and SC ( Branco, 2003). Museum records are restricted to June to September in RJ (MZUSP, MNRJ, MPEG), to July to October and April in SP and to August in RS (MZUSP). Sterna trudeaui (MPR)   : occurs on the coast of and in inland South America, and breeds from southern Brazil to Patagonia and Chile ( Gochfeld & Burger, 1996). There is evidence of breeding activity in RS ( Sick, 1997) in November and December (WikiAves, 2016), where it is considered resident ( Belton, 1984; Accordi & Hartz, 2013). Out of the breeding season, it flies north through the Pacific coast to southern Peru and through the Atlantic coast to RJ ( Gochfeld & Burger, 2016a). Photographic records suggest it is present on the Brazilian coast from RS to northern SP, but records for SP are restricted between May and November, for PR from July to November, and for RS in August (WikiAves, 2016; MZUSP).

Thalasseus acuflavidus (MPR)   : occurs in eastern North America, Antilles and Caribbean and overwinters from the southern Caribbean to southern Peru and Uruguay ( Gochfeld & Burger, 2016b). Individuals from North America migrate south across the Caribbean and over the coasts from both Central and South America ( Gochfeld & Burger, 2016b). In Brazil, this species breeds on coastal islands in the South and Southeast regions, and the largest breeding colony of the South Atlantic is in ES with around 14,000 individuals (M.A. Efe, pers. comm.). In RS, ( Accordi & Hartz, 2013) and BA, it can be observed all year round, but there are large gatherings of individuals on the coast of BA from September to April originated from breeding colonies in ES according to banding data ( Lima et al., 2004b). Although this species is considered migratory by Jahn & Cueto (2012), available data shows it is only partially migratory.

Thalasseus maximus (MPR)   : occurs from the southwest coast of the USA to northwestern Mexico and from eastern USA to the Guianas and Brazil, through the Antilles and Bahamas. Its breeding populations are disjunct and occur in the Yucatán Peninsula and in southern Brazil, Uruguay and northern Patagonia ( Gochfeld & Burger, 1996). Individuals that arrive in Brazil come from southern USA and Caribbean and land in the north and northeast coasts during austral summer, and also individuals that come from Patagonia during austral winter ( De Luca et al., 2006).There are records of this species all year round in Ilha Comprida/SP both of breeding individuals and of those originating from southern South America ( Barbieri & Paes, 2008). Although this species have had been considered resident in RS ( Accordi & Hartz, 2013), its records are scarce from October to December, which suggests return to breeding colonies further south of the continent in this period ( Belton, 1984), confirming the migratory behavior as already proposed by Jahn & Cueto (2012).