Copyright 2000-2014 by Thomas Zinneman.  All rights reserved.

Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis

The Sandwich Tern breeds along the U.S. Gulf and Atlantic coasts on barrier islands, sand spits, and dredge spoils, usually within mixed colonies along with Royal Terns, Black Skimmers, and Laughing Gulls.  Their breeding range extends along the Atlantic coast from Maryland to Georgia, along the Gulf coast from Florida to Mexico and numerous sites throughout the Caribbean and the Bahamas.  Some individuals winter as far north as Florida and the Gulf states, but the bulk of the North American population appears to winter along the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Central America and northern South America.  March-April marks spring migration for these terns and August-September marks fall migration.

In Florida, several breeding colonies have been observed the Gulf coast, especially in the Tampa area. Some of these birds are year-round residents of Florida.