The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season. More on reading these maps.
The aptly named Least Tern—it’s really small—has been bedeviled for decades by habitat degradation. The species nests in the open near water, both coastally and along major inland rivers. Changing water levels, direct disturbance by humans, and development have diminished breeding populations. A new threat is climate change, with Audubon's climate model forecasting an 82 percent loss of current summer range by 2080. A silver lining in the cloud may be this tiny tern’s adaptability; the model shows some potential expansion into new regions of climatically favorable conditions, and active intervention by wildlife managers may permit the species to colonize new sites.
Are the projected range maps different from the range maps in field guides? Find the answer here.