Conservationists Celebrate Record-breaking Roseate Tern Population on Coquet Island

The Roseate Tern, the rarest breeding seabird in the UK, has reached a record-breaking population on Coquet Island.

Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii) are small, white-and-black birds that nest on three islands in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. In the 1970s the population of Roseate Terns crashed to as low as 16 breeding pairs due to a high commercial demand for their feathers. Although the population has been steadily increasing due to active conservation measures, this year marks a record-breaking year on Croquet Island with 118 pairs raising chicks.

Conservationists attribute this success to the reaction of “terrace houses” for the birds to live and nest in. These terraces provide a sheltered location for Roseate Terns to nest which helps protect eggs and chicks from predation by invasive and native species. Paul Morrison, warden at RSPB Coquet Island commended:

For the past three years we’ve been consistently attracting more than 100 pairs of roseate terns to the island, who have fledged more than a 100 chicks each year.”


Roseate Terns rest on top of the terraces built on Coquet Island for safe nesting habitat. Credit: Paul Morrison

Although Roseate Tern populations still face challenges, conservationists are hopeful that the impacts and populations they have seen will continue to progress.

Featured photo: Kersti Nebelsiek/USFWS
Sources: The Independent and RSPB

About Emily Heber

Emily is a recent graduate from UC Santa Barbara with a BS in Zoology. As a student, she discovered that she had a passion for the conservation of endangered species and their ecosystems. Her background in informal education has allowed her the opportunity to share her passion for animals with others, something she seeks to continue doing while working with the communication team. In her spare time, Emily enjoys exploring the amazing hiking trails found in Santa Cruz and tries to SCUBA dive whenever possible. Emily is excited to join the Island Conservation team and to help share the amazing work that is being done here.

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