Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
White-winged Tern - Chlidonias leucopterus
LARIDAE Members:
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General Comments This European species has been quite regular in late summer and early fall at refuges to our North, especially in Delaware; however, the White-winged Tern seems not to stray much farther south. The only NC records are of one adult in basic plumage seen by several observers at Bodie Island lighthouse pond on 13 Aug 1994* [Chat 61:276-277 link]; and one in full alternate plumage seen and photographed by numerous birders at Cape Point (Dare) from 26 May - 2 Jun 2020* [Chat 84:96 link]. The last record has been reviewed and accepted by the NC BRC; photos are on the Carolina Bird Club Photo Gallery.
Breeding Status Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SA
Global Rank G5
Coastal Plain Two records (see above).
Piedmont No records.
Mountains No records.
Finding Tips
Attribution LeGrand[2021-07-13], LeGrand[2020-08-03], LeGrand[2018-02-01]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.