Nest and Colony Site Selection in Common Terns (Sterna hirundo) in Mongolia

Joanna Burger, Michael Gochfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The biology of the Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) has been studied on several continents, but information from central Asia is limited. Colony characteristics and nest site selection of Common Terns were studied in the desert and steppe of Mongolia to determine factors that influence their choices. Common Terns nested in marshy areas around small ponds, on sand bars adjacent to a lake in the Gobi, and on small islands in a water treatment plant in the steppe of Ulaanbaatar. In the Gobi, they nested with Pied Avocets (Recurvirostra avosetta) that defended the colony site, while the terns left. Common Terns selected colony sites surrounded by water and muck/ mud, and nest sites with good visibility. Their choice of colony and nest sites seemed to be a compromise between avoiding flooding, avoiding nest trampling by livestock, and finding any safe nesting place to avoid terrestrial predators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-407
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology


  • Common Tern
  • Livestock avoidance
  • Mongolia
  • Nesting behavior
  • Pied Avocet
  • Recurvirostra avosetta
  • Sterna hirundo
  • olony sites


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