Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2006-29

Common name:

Least Tern

Scientific name: Sterna antillarum
Date: 6/11/06
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Length of time observed: 15 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Unknown
Location: J.W. Fitzgerald WMA
County: Tooele
Distance to bird: 20 to 200 yards
Optical equipment: Pentax 8x42 and Pentax 10x42 binoculars
Weather: Clear and Sunny
Light Conditions: Bright
Description:        Size of bird: Extremely small compared to nearby Caspian Tern
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Yellow bill
Black cap with white forehead
Pale gray back and upper wings
Edge of upper wing (first one or two primary feathers) appeared dark gray or black
Under parts white with under wings showing a narrow darker (medium gray) edging on the primary feathers
Song or call & method of delivery: Not heard
Behavior: The tern was flying about 10 to 20 feet above the water. It also dove into the water (tern-like) 4 or 5 times.
Habitat: Small reservoir immediately surrounded by some reeds and aquatic grasses. Immediate reservoir area surrounded by sparse desert vegetation--some small sagebrush and dry grasses.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Caspian Tern is much larger with a large reddish orange bill and no white forehead.
Common Tern is larger with gray underparts, a black-tipped orangish bill and no white forehead.
Forsters Tern is larger with a black-tipped orange bill and no white forehead.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
We've seen Least Terns many times both in Utah and in other states where they are more common. We also regularly see Caspian, Forsters and Common Terns in Utah each year.
References consulted: Sibley National Geographic
Description from: Notes made later
Observer: Joel and Kathy Beyer
Observer's address: 1719 Hillcrest Avenue, Salt Lake CIty, UT 84106
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: None known
Date prepared: 7/15/06
Additional material:  
Additional comments: