Least terns Sternula antillarum, copyright Dick Daniels.

Belongs within: Charadriiformes.
Contains: Larinae, Thalasseus, Sterna.

The Laridae, gulls and terns, are primarily coastal birds with long, broad wings, relatively short legs (compared to other members of the Charadriiformes) and feet webbed between the front three toes. The family is commonly divided between the Larinae, gulls, with broader wings and stouter bills, and the Sterninae, terns, with more elongate wings and slender bills, but the phylogenetic analysis by Jetz et al. (2012) places the noddies (Anous) closer to the Larinae than to other Sterninae. These are dark-plumaged terns with pale caps; the noddies and the white terns Gygis are found in tropical regions and usually nest in trees and shrubs rather than on the ground like other larids.

The skimmers of the genus Rynchops may also sit within the Laridae. These tropical and subtropical birds have the lower mandible markedly longer than the upper; the elongated mandible is used to skim along the surface of the water while in flight and pick up small fishes and aquatic invertebrates.

Members of the terns proper include the brown-backed terns of the genus Onychoprion, a primarily tropical group of terns with black caps and brown backs and wings.

<==Laridae [Laridia, Sternidae, Sterninae, Sternini]
    |--+--Larinae BKB15
    |  `--Anous Stephens in Shaw 1826 JT12, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
    |       |  i. s.: A. melanogenys Gray 1846 CC10
    |       |--A. tenuirostris Temminck 1823 JT12, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
    |       `--+--A. minutus Boie 1844 JT12, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
    |          `--A. stolidus (Linnaeus 1758) JT12, CC10 [=Sterna stolida CC10; incl. *A. niger CC10, A. rousseaui S66]
    |               |--A. s. stolidus CC10
    |               `--A. s. pileatus (Scopoli 1786) CC10 (see below for synonymy)
    `--+--Rynchops Linnaeus 1758 BKB15, B94 [Rynchopidae, Rynchopini, Rynchopoidea]
       |    |--R. albicollis JT12
       |    |--R. fulva Linnaeus 1758 L58
       |    |--R. flavirostris JT12
       |    |--R. melanura SS66
       |    `--R. nigra Linnaeus 1758 L58
       `--+--Gygis Wagler 1832 JT12, CC10 [incl. Leucanous Mathews 1912 CC10; Gygini]
          |    |--G. alba (Sparrman 1786) CC10 [=Sterna alba CC10, Anous albus A68]
          |    |    |--G. a. alba CC10
          |    |    `--*G. a. candida (Gmelin 1789) (see below for synonymy) CC10
          |    `--G. microrhyncha JT12 [=G. alba microrhyncha CC10, *Leucanous microrhynchus CC10]
          `--+--Onychoprion Wagler 1832 BKB15, CC10
             |    |--O. aleuticus BKB15 [=Sterna aleutica JT12]
             |    `--+--O. fuscatus Linnaeus 1766 BKB15, CC10 [=Anous fuscatus CC10, Sterna fuscata CC10]
             |       |    |--O. f. fuscatus CC10
             |       |    |--O. f. nubilosus (Sparrman 1788) CC10
             |       |    `--*O. f. serratus (Forster in Wagler 1830) CC10 (see below for synonymy)
             |       `--+--O. anaethetus (Scopoli 1786) BKB15, WS48 (see below for synonymy)
             |          |    |--O. a. anaethetus CC10
             |          |    |--O. a. antarcticus (Lesson 1831) CC10
             |          |    |--O. a. melanopterus (Swainson 1837 CC10 [=Sterna melanoptera D66]
             |          |    `--O. a. nelsoni (Ridgway 1919) CC10
             |          `--O. lunatus (Peale 1848) BKB15, CC10 [=Sterna lunata CC10]
             `--+--Sternula Boie 1822 BKB15, CC10
                |    |--+--S. albifrons (Pallas in Vroeg 1764) BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                |    |  |    |--S. a. albifrons CC10
                |    |  |    |--‘Sterna’ a. browni USDI77
                |    |  |    |--S. albifrons guineae Bannerman 1913 CC10
                |    |  |    `--S. a. sinensis (Gmelin 1789) BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                |    |  `--S. nereis Gould 1843 BKB15, WH02 (see below for synonymy)
                |    |       |--S. n. nereis CC10
                |    |       |--S. n. davisae Mathews & Iredale 1913 [=Sterna nereis davisae] CC10
                |    |       `--S. n. exsul Mathews 1912 CC10 [=Sterna nereis exsul HR96]
                |    `--+--S. antillarum BKB15 [=Sterna antillarum JT12]
                |       `--S. superciliaris BKB15 [=Sterna superciliaris JT12]
                `--+--Phaetusa simplex BKB15
                   `--+--+--Hydroprogne Kaup 1829 BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                      |  |    `--*H. caspia (Pallas 1770) CC10, BKB15, WS48 (see below for synonymy)
                      |  `--Gelochelidon Brehm 1830 BKB15, CC10
                      |       `--G. nilotica (Gmelin 1789) BKB15, WS48 (see below for synonymy)
                      |            |--G. n. nilotica S05
                      |            |--G. n. affinis Horsfield 1821 S05 [=Sterna nilotica affinis M03]
                      |            `--G. n. macrotarsa Gould 1837 R85 (see below for synonymy)
                      `--+--Larosterna inca BKB15
                         `--+--+--Thalasseus BKB15
                            |  `--Sterna BKB15
                            `--Chlidonias Rafinesque 1822 BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                                 |--C. hybrida (Pallas 1811) BKB15, WS48 (see below for synonymy)
                                 |    |--C. h. hybrida CC10
                                 |    |--C. ‘hybridus’ delalandi Mathews 1912 CC10
                                 |    `--C. ‘hybridus’ javanicus (Horsfield 1821) CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                                 `--+--C. albostriatus (Gray 1845) BKB15, WH02 (see below for synonymy)
                                    `--+--*C. niger (Linnaeus 1758) CC10, BKB15, L58 (see below for synonymy)
                                       |    |--C. n. niger S18
                                       |    `--‘Hydrochelidon nigra’ surinamensis S18
                                       `--C. leucopterus (Temminck 1815) BKB15, WS48 (see below for synonymy)

Laridae incertae sedis:
  Gaviota Miller & Sibley 1941 M02
    `--*G. niobara Miller & Sibley 1941 M02
  Laricola Mlíkovský 2002 M02
    |--*L. elegans (Milne-Edwards 1868) [=Larus elegans] M02
    `--L. totanoides (Milne-Edwards 1868) [=Larus totanoides] M02
  Procelsterna Lafresnaye 1842 CC10
    |--P. cerulea (Bennett 1840) CC10 (see below for synonymy)
    |    |--P. c. cerulea CC10
    |    |--P. c. murphyi Mougin & de Naurois 1981 CC10
    |    `--P. c. nebouxi Mathews 1912 CC10
    `--P. albivitta Bonaparte 1856 JT12, CC10 (see below for synonymy)

Anous Stephens in Shaw 1826 JT12, CC10 [incl. Megalopterus Boie 1826 CC10, Micranous Saunders 1895 CC10; Anoini, Megalopterini]

Anous minutus Boie 1844 JT12, CC10 [=A. tenuirostris minutus CC10, Megalopterus minutus CC10; incl. Me. minutus kermadeci Mathews 1916, Anous leucocapillus Gould 1846 CC10, Micranous leucocapillus CC10]

Anous stolidus pileatus (Scopoli 1786) CC10 [=Sterna pileata CC10; incl. A. stolidus gilberti Mathews 1912 WS48, S. unicolor Nordmann in Erman 1837 CC10, A. stolidus unicolor CC10]

Anous tenuirostris Temminck 1823 JT12, CC10 [=Sterna tenuirostris CC10, *Megalopterus tenuirostris CC10, *Micranous tenuirostris CC10; incl. Anous melanops Gould 1845 WS48]

Chlidonias Rafinesque 1822 BKB15, CC10 [=Hydrochelidon Boie 1822 CC10; incl. Maoristerna Mathews 1944 CC10]

Chlidonias albostriatus (Gray 1845) BKB15, WH02 [=Hydrochelidon albostriata CC10, Chlidonias hybrida albistriata CC10, C. albostriata CC10, C. hybrida albostriatus FST81, Hydrochelidon albistriata CC10, *Maoristerna albostriata CC10, Sterna albistriata CC10, Sterna albostriata CC10; incl. Sterna antarctica Forster in Wagler 1832 non Lesson 1831 CC10, Sternula antarctica CC10, Sterna cinerea Ellman 1861 non Haldeman 1843 CC10]

Chlidonias hybrida (Pallas 1811) BKB15, WS48 [=Sterna hybrida CC10, C. hybridus CC10, Hydrochelidon hybrida CC10]

Chlidonias ‘hybridus’ javanicus (Horsfield 1821) CC10 [=Sterna javanica CC10; incl. Hydrochelidon fluviatilis Goudl 1843 CC10, Chlidonias hybrida fluviatilis WS48, C. leucopareia fluviatilis CC10, Hydrochelidon leucopareia rogersi Mathews 1912 WS48]

Chlidonias leucopterus (Temminck 1815) BKB15, WS48 [=Sterna leucoptera CC10, Childonias (l. c.) leucoptera CC10, Chlidonias leucoptera CC10, Hydrochelidon leucoptera G66]

*Chlidonias niger (Linnaeus 1758) CC10, BKB15, L58 [=*Hydrochelidon nigra CC10, Sterna nigra WBSJ82]

Gelochelidon nilotica (Gmelin 1789) BKB15, WS48 [=Sterna nilotica SJ85; incl. *G. meridionalis CC10]

Gelochelidon nilotica macrotarsa Gould 1837 R85 [=Sterna nilotica macrotarsa M03; incl. G. nilotica cloatesi Mathews 1924 WS48]

*Gygis alba candida (Gmelin 1789) [=Sterna candida, Leucanous albus candidus; incl. G. alba royana Mathews 1912, L. albus royanus] CC10

Hydroprogne Kaup 1829 BKB15, CC10 [=Heroprogne Buller 190 CC10, Sylochelidon Brehm 1831 CC10]

*Hydroprogne caspia (Pallas 1770) CC10, BKB15, WS48 [=*Heroprogne caspia CC10, Sterna caspia CC10, *Sylochelidon caspius CC10; incl. Sterna major Ellman 1861 CC10, Hydroprogne tschegrava oliveri Mathews & Iredale 1913 CC10, H. caspia oliveri CC10, Sylochelidon strenuus Gould 1846 CC10, H. caspia strenua CC10, H. tschegrava strenua CC10, Sterna (Sylochelidon) strenuus CC10, Sylochelidon strenua CC10, Sterna tchegrava Lepechin 1770 (nom. rej.) CC10, Hydroprogne tschegrava S70]

Onychoprion anaethetus (Scopoli 1786) BKB15, WS48 [=Sterna anaethetus CC10; incl. Melanosterna anaethetus rogersi Mathews 1915 WS48]

*Onychoprion fuscatus serratus (Forster in Wagler 1830) CC10 [=Sterna fuscata serrata CC10, S. fuscata serratus CC10; incl. O. fuscatus glauerti Mathews 1922 WS48, O. fuscatus kermadeci Mathews 1916 CC10, Sterna fuscata kermadeci CC10]

Procelsterna albivitta Bonaparte 1856 JT12, CC10 [=P. cerulea albivitta CC10, P. cerulea albivittata CC10, Anous cinereus Gould 1846 non Sterna cinerea Haldeman 1843 CC10, P. cerulea cinerea CC10; incl. P. cerulea kermadeci Mathews 1916 CC10]

Procelsterna cerulea (Bennett 1840) CC10 [=Sterna cerulea CC10, Anous cerulea A68; incl. *Procelsterna tereticollis CC10]

Sternula albifrons (Pallas in Vroeg 1764) BKB15, CC10 [=Sterna albifrons CC10; incl. Sterna minuta Linnaeus 1766 CC10, *Sternula minuta CC10]

Sternula albifrons sinensis (Gmelin 1789) BKB15, CC10 [=Sterna albifrons sinensis CC10; incl. Sternula inconspicua Masters 1875 CC10, Sternula placens Gould 1871 CC10, Sterna sinensis placens CC10, Sterna sinensis tormenti Mathews 1912 CC10]

Sternula nereis Gould 1843 BKB15, WH02 [=Sterna nereis CC10; incl. Sternula nereis horni Mathews 1912 WS48]

*Type species of generic name indicated


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Last updated: 15 August 2019.

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