Thai National Parks

Species of Thailand

Black-naped tern

Sterna sumatrana

Thomas Stamford Raffles, 1822

In Thai: นกนางนวลแกลบท้ายทอยดำ

The black-naped tern (Sterna sumatrana) is an oceanic tern mostly found in tropical and subtropical areas of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. It is rarely found inland.


The tern is about 30 cm long with a wing length of 21–23 cm. Their beaks and legs are black, but the tips of their bills are yellow. They have long forked tails. The black-naped tern has a white face and breast with a grayish-white back and wings. The first couple of their primary feathers are gray.

There are two listed subspecies:

  • S. s. mathewsi (Stresemann, 1914) – islands of the western Indian Ocean
  • S. s. sumatrana (Raffles, 1822) – islands of the eastern Indian Ocean through to the western Pacific & Australasia

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Category / Seasonal Status

BCST Category: Recorded in an apparently wild state within the last 50 years

BCST Seasonal status: Resident or presumed resident

Scientific classification

Sterna sumatrana

Common names

  • English: Black-naped tern
  • French: Sterne diamant
  • Thai: นกนางนวลแกลบท้ายทอยดำ


  • Sterna sumatrana mathewsi, Erwin Stresemann, 1914

    Range: Islands of the western Indian Ocean

  • Sterna sumatrana sumatrana, Thomas Stamford Raffles, 1822

    Range: Islands of the eastern Indian Ocean through to the western Pacific & Australasia

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (BCST)

- LC: still widespread and numerous -


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Black-naped tern

Range Map

Distribution map of Black-naped tern, Sterna sumatrana in Thailand
  • Bang Pu Recreation Centre
  • Chanthaburi Coast
  • Chumphon Coast
  • Kamphaeng Saen District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Khao Laem Ya - Mu Ko Samet National Park
  • Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
  • Khura Buri District, Phang Nga
  • Klaeng District, Rayong
  • Ko Samui District, Surat Thani
  • Ko Sichang District, Chonburi
  • Ko Tao
  • Laem Pak Bia
  • Mueang Chonburi District, Chonburi
  • Mueang Krabi District, Krabi
  • Mueang Phang Nga District, Phang Nga
  • Mueang Phuket District, Phuket
  • Mueang Samut Sakhon District, Samut Sakhon
  • Nakhon Si Thammarat Coast
  • Pak Thale
  • Phi Phi Islands
  • Prachuap Khiri Khan Coast
  • Samae San Island
  • Sathing Phra District, Songkhla
  • Sattahip District, Chonburi
  • Satun Coast
  • Si Racha District, Chonburi
  • Similan Islands
  • Surat Thani Coast
  • Surin Islands
  • Takua Pa District, Phang Nga
  • Tarutao National Marine Park
  • Thale Noi Non-Hunting Area
  • Than Sadet - Koh Pha-Ngan National Park
  • Trang Coast
Range map of Sterna sumatrana in Thailand