Images by Kevin Simmonds
Images by Kevin Simmonds
Little Tern Project
Little Tern Project

What we do

Little terns arrive back on UK shores in April and May, where they breed on sand and shingle beaches, spits or inshore islets. This delightful chattering seabird, with its distinctive yellow beak is suffering the effects of climate change and human disturbance, resulting in it becoming one of the UK’s rarest breeding seabirds.


Since the 1970's, wardens have supervised many colonies, which has substantially reduced human disturbance, but more work needs to be done as numbers are still declining.


The five-year EU LIFE+ Nature Little Tern Recovery Project will help by:


  • Enhancing management and habitat restoration/creation to be carried out over 20 sites identified as containing important UK colonies. These sites are all located within Special Protection Areas (SPAs) which form part of the Natura 2000 network of sites designated for their international European importance for wildlife. SPAs are classified under the EU Birds Directive helping protect and manage areas which are important for rare and vulnerable birds.


  • Keeping people informed of the conservation issues facing little terns, particularly in the local communities close to the current and potential sites. It will also ensure that there is action on engagement with statutory agencies, local authorities and policy makers in government ensuring that long-term conservation plans can work successfully to support little terns into the future.


  • Shaping a UK little tern conservation strategy from information gathered and lessons learnt during its lifetime.


    We believe that by working together with the local communities, beach users, the Project partners and other organisations we can ensure that this little seabird will remain a regular summer inhabitant along our shores for us all to enjoy.

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Little Tern Recovery Project is generously supported by the EU LIFE+ Nature Programme