Sandwich tern Thalasseus eurygnatha, photographed by Mikko Pyhälä.

Belongs within: Charadriiformes.
Contains: Sterna, Larus.

The Laridae include the gulls and terns, 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 generally 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. Jetz et al. (2012) also place the skimmers of the genus Rynchops within the Laridae; these tropical and subtropical birds have the lower mandible markedly longer than the upper, and they use this elongated mandible to skim along the surface of the water while in flight and pick up small fishes and aquatic invertebrates.

<==Laridae [Sternidae, Sterninae, Sternini]
    |--+--Gygis Wagler 1832 JT12, B94 [Gygini]
    |  |    |--G. alba (Sparrman 1786) WH02 [=Anous albus A68]
    |  |    |    |--G. a. alba HR96
    |  |    |    `--G. a. royana HR96
    |  |    `--G. microrhyncha JT12
    |  `--+--Sterna JT12
    |     `--+--Hydroprogne tschegrava S70a
    |        `--Thalasseus S70a
    |             |--T. bernsteini SU93
    |             |--T. elegans S70a
    |             |--T. eurygnatha S70a
    |             |--T. magnirostris SS66
    |             |--T. maximus N10
    |             |--T. sandvicensis S70a
    |             `--T. zimmermanni S70a
    `--+--Anous Stephens 1826 JT12, B94 [incl. Megalopterus Boie 1826 B94; Anoini, Megalopterini]
       |    |--A. tenuirostris (Temminck 1823) JT12, WH02 [=Sterna tenuirostris WS48; incl. A. melanops Gould 1845 WS48]
       |    `--+--A. minutus Boie 1844 JT12, WH02 [=A. tenuirostris minutus HR96]
       |       `--A. stolidus (Linnaeus 1758) JT12, WH02 [=Sterna stolida S66; incl. A. rousseaui S66]
       |            |--A. s. stolidus HR96
       |            `--A. s. pileatus (Scopoli 1786) [=Sterna pileata; incl. A. stolidus gilberti Mathews 1912] WS48
       `--+--Rynchops Linnaeus 1758 JT12, B94 [Rynchopidae, Rynchopini, Rynchopoidea]
          |    |--R. albicollis S70b
          |    |--R. flavirostris S70b
          |    |--R. melanura SS66
          |    `--R. niger JT12
          `--Larinae [Larini] HWT01
               |  i. s.: Gabianus scoresbii S70a
               |--+--Creagrus furcatus JT12
               |  `--Rhodostethia rosea JT12 [=Larus roseus WBSJ82]
               `--+--‘Larus’ minutus JT12
                  `--+--Larus JT12
                     `--+--Rissa Stephen 1826 JT12, M02
                        |    |--R. brevirostris JT12 [=Larus brevirostris S70a]
                        |    `--R. tridactyla Linnaeus 1758 JT12, M02 [=Larus tridactylus S70a]
                        `--+--Xema Leach 1819 JT12, B94 [Xemini]
                           |    `--X. sabini S70a
                           `--Pagophila Kaup 1829 JT12, B94 [=Gavia Möhring 1752 (pre-Linnean) B94; Pagophilini]
                                `--P. eburnea Phipps 1774 [=Gavia alba Möhring 1752 (pre-Linnean)] B94

Laridae incertae sedis:
  Gaviota Miller & Sibley 1941 M02
    `--*G. niobara Miller & Sibley 1941 M02
  Halcyornis Owen 1846 FP64, M02 [Halcyornithidae]
    `--*H. toliapicus (König 1825) [=Larus toliapicus] M02
  Onychoprion melanauchen [=Sterna melanauchen] W66
  Laricola Mlíkovský 2002 M02
    |--*L. elegans (Milne-Edwards 1868) [=Larus elegans] M02
    `--L. totanoides (Milne-Edwards 1868) [=Larus totanoides] M02
  Chroicocephalus ridibundus N10
  Procelsterna S70a
    |--P. albivitta JT12 [=P. cerulea albivittata HR96]
    `--P. cerulea (Bennett 1840) S70a, WH02 [=Anous cerulea A68]
  Hydrochelidon S18
    |--H. leucoptera G66
    `--H. nigra S18
         |--H. n. nigra S18
         `--H. n. surinamensis S18

*Type species of generic name indicated


[A68] Ashmole, N. P. 1968. Body size, prey size, and ecological segregation in five sympatric tropical terns (Aves: Laridae). Systematic Zoology 17 (3): 292-304.

[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1-281.

[FP64] Fisher, J., & R. T. Peterson. 1964. The World of Birds: A comprehensive guide to general ornithology. Macdonald: London.

[G66] Gould, J. 1866. Additions to the list of the avifauna of Australia, with descriptions of three new species. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 217-218.

[HR96] Heather, B. D., & H. A. Robertson. 1996. The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Viking: Auckland.

[HWT01] Holdaway, R. N., T. H. Worthy & A. J. D. Tennyson. 2001. A working list of breeding bird species of the New Zealand region at first human contact. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 28: 119-187.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444-448.

[M02] Mlíkovský, J. 2002. Cenozoic Birds of the World. Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press: Praha.

[N10] Naish, D. 2010. Tetrapod Zoology: Book One. CFZ Press: Bideford (UK).

[S66] Schlegel, H. 1866. Communication from, on mammals and birds collected in Madagascar. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 419-426.

[S70a] Schnell, G. D. 1970. A phenetic study of the suborder Lari (Aves) I. Methods and results of principal components analysis. Systematic Zoology 19 (1): 35-57.

[S70b] Schnell, G. D. 1970. A phenetic study of the suborder Lari (Aves) II. Phenograms, discussion, and conclusions. Systematic Zoology 19 (3): 264-302.

[SS66] Sclater, P. L., & O. Salvin. 1866. Catalogue of birds collected by Mr. E. Bartlett on the River Uyacali, Eastern Peru, with notes and descriptions of new species. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 175-201.

[S18] Stone, W. 1918. Birds of the Panama Canal Zone, with special reference to a collection made by Mr. Lindsey L. Jewel. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 70: 239-280.

[SU93] Sonobe, K., & S. Usui (eds.) 1993. A Field Guide to the Waterbirds of Asia. Wild Bird Society of Japan: Tokyo.

[W66] Walden, A. 1866. Notes on birds collected in Tennasserim and in the Andaman Islands. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 537-556.

[WS48] Whittell, H. M. & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1-126.

[WH02] Worthy, T. H., & R. N. Holdaway. 2002. The Lost World of the Moa: Prehistoric life of New Zealand. Indiana University Press: Bloomington (Indiana).

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