Least terns Sternula antillarum, copyright Dick Daniels.

Belongs within: Charadriiformes.
Contains: Larinae, Thalasseus, Sterna.

The Laridae, gulls and terns, are primarily coastal birds with long, broad wings, relatively short legs (compared to other members of the Charadriiformes) and feet webbed between the front three toes. The family is commonly divided between the gulls of the Larinae, with broader wings and stouter bills, and the terns of the Sterninae, with more elongate wings and slender bills. However, some phylogenetic analyses places the noddies of the genus Anous closer to the Larinae than to other Sterninae. These are dark-plumaged terns with pale caps; the noddies and the white terns Gygis are found in tropical regions and usually nest in trees and shrubs rather than on the ground like other larids.

The skimmers of the genus Rynchops may also sit within the Laridae. These tropical and subtropical birds have the lower mandible markedly longer than the upper; the elongated mandible is used to skim along the surface of the water while in flight and pick up small fishes and aquatic invertebrates.

Members of the terns proper include the brown-backed terns of the genus Onychoprion, a primarily tropical group with black caps and brown backs and wings. Sternula is a genus of smaller light-coloured terns with a white forehead and black cap.

<==Laridae [Laridia, Sternidae, Sterninae, Sternini]
    |  `--+--Anous Stephens in Shaw 1826BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
    |     |    |  i. s.: A. melanogenys Gray 1846CC10
    |     |    |--A. tenuirostris Temminck 1823BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
    |     |    `--+--A. minutus Boie 1844BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
    |     |       `--A. stolidus (Linnaeus 1758)BKB15, CC10 [=Sterna stolidaCC10; incl. *A. nigerCC10, A. rousseauiS66]
    |     |            |--A. s. stolidusCC10
    |     |            `--A. s. pileatus (Scopoli 1786)CC10 (see below for synonymy)
    |     `--Gygis Wagler 1832BKB15, CC10 [incl. Leucanous Mathews 1912CC10; Gygini]
    |          |--G. alba (Sparrman 1786)CC10 [=Sterna albaCC10, Anous albusA68]
    |          |    |--G. a. albaCC10
    |          |    `--*G. a. candida (Gmelin 1789) (see below for synonymy)CC10
    |          `--G. microrhynchaJT12 [=G. alba microrhynchaCC10, *Leucanous microrhynchusCC10]
    `--+--Rynchops Linnaeus 1758BKB15, B94 [Rynchopidae, Rynchopini, Rynchopoidea]
       |    |--R. albicollisJT12
       |    |--R. flavirostrisJT12
       |    |--R. fulva Linnaeus 1758L58
       |    |--R. melanuraSS66
       |    |--R. nigra Linnaeus 1758L58
       |    `--R. orientalisF43
       `--+--Onychoprion Wagler 1832BKB15, CC10
          |    |--O. aleuticusBKB15 [=Sterna aleuticaJT12]
          |    `--+--O. fuscatus Linnaeus 1766BKB15, CC10 [=Anous fuscatusCC10, Sterna fuscataCC10]
          |       |    |--O. f. fuscatusCC10
          |       |    |--O. f. nubilosus (Sparrman 1788)CC10
          |       |    `--*O. f. serratus (Forster in Wagler 1830)CC10 (see below for synonymy)
          |       `--+--O. anaethetus (Scopoli 1786)BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
          |          |    |--O. a. anaethetusCC10
          |          |    |--O. a. antarcticus (Lesson 1831)CC10
          |          |    |--O. a. melanopterus (Swainson 1837)CC10 [=Sterna melanopteraD66]
          |          |    `--O. a. nelsoni (Ridgway 1919)CC10
          |          `--O. lunatus (Peale 1848)BKB15, CC10 [=Sterna lunataCC10]
          `--+--Sternula Boie 1822BKB15, CC10
             |    |--+--S. albifrons (Pallas in Vroeg 1764)BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
             |    |  |    |--S. a. albifronsCC10
             |    |  |    |--‘Sterna’ a. browniUSDI77
             |    |  |    |--S. a. guineae Bannerman 1913CC10
             |    |  |    `--S. a. sinensis (Gmelin 1789) (see below for synonymy)CC10
             |    |  `--S. nereis Gould 1843BKB15, CC10 [=Sterna nereisCC10; incl. Sternula nereis horni Mathews 1912WS48]
             |    |       |--S. n. nereisCC10
             |    |       |--S. n. davisae Mathews & Iredale 1913 [=Sterna nereis davisae]CC10
             |    |       `--S. n. exsul Mathews 1912CC10 [=Sterna nereis exsulHR96]
             |    `--+--S. antillarumBKB15 [=Sterna antillarumJT12]
             |       `--S. superciliarisBKB15 [=Sterna superciliarisJT12]
             `--+--Phaetusa simplexBKB15
                `--+--+--Hydroprogne Kaup 1829BKB15, CC10 [=Heroprogne Buller 1905CC10, Sylochelidon Brehm 1831CC10]
                   |  |    `--*H. caspia (Pallas 1770)CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                   |  `--Gelochelidon Brehm 1830BKB15, CC10
                   |       `--G. nilotica (Gmelin 1789) [=Sterna nilotica; incl. *G. meridionalis]CC10
                   |            |--G. n. niloticaCC10
                   |            |--G. n. affinis Horsfield 1821CC10 [=Sterna nilotica affinisSJ85]
                   |            `--G. n. macrotarsa Gould 1837CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                   `--+--Larosterna incaBKB15
                         |  `--SternaBKB15
                         `--Chlidonias Rafinesque 1822BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                              |--C. hybrida (Pallas 1811)BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                              |    |--C. h. hybridaCC10
                              |    |--C. ‘hybridus’ delalandii Mathews 1912CC10
                              |    `--C. ‘hybridus’ javanicus (Horsfield 1821)CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                              `--+--C. albostriatus (Gray 1845)BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                                 `--+--*C. niger (Linnaeus 1758)CC10, BKB15, L58 [=Sterna nigraCC10, *Hydrochelidon nigraCC10]
                                    |    |--C. n. nigerS18
                                    |    `--C. n. surinamensisE52 [=Hydrochelidon nigra surinamensisS18]
                                    `--C. leucopterus (Temminck 1815)BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
Laridae incertae sedis:
  Gaviota Miller & Sibley 1941M02
    `--*G. niobara Miller & Sibley 1941M02
  Laricola Mlíkovský 2002M02
    |--*L. elegans (Milne-Edwards 1868) [=Larus elegans]M02
    `--L. totanoides (Milne-Edwards 1868) [=Larus totanoides]M02
  Procelsterna Lafresnaye 1842CC10
    |--P. cerulea (Bennett 1840)CC10 [=Sterna ceruleaCC10, Anous ceruleaA68; incl. *Procelsterna tereticollisCC10]
    |    |--P. c. ceruleaCC10
    |    |--P. c. murphyi Mougin & de Naurois 1981CC10
    |    `--P. c. nebouxi Mathews 1912CC10
    `--P. albivitta Bonaparte 1856JT12, CC10 (see below for synonymy)

Anous Stephens in Shaw 1826BKB15, CC10 [incl. Megalopterus Boie 1826CC10, Micranous Saunders 1895CC10; Anoini, Megalopterini]

Anous minutus Boie 1844BKB15, CC10 [=A. tenuirostris minutusCC10, Megalopterus minutusCC10; incl. Me. minutus kermadeci Mathews 1916CC10, Anous leucocapillus Gould 1846CC10, Micranous leucocapillusCC10]

Anous stolidus pileatus (Scopoli 1786)CC10 [=Sterna pileataCC10; incl. A. stolidus gilberti Mathews 1912WS48, S. unicolor Nordmann in Erman 1837CC10, A. stolidus unicolorCC10]

Anous tenuirostris Temminck 1823BKB15, CC10 [=Sterna tenuirostrisCC10, *Megalopterus tenuirostrisCC10, *Micranous tenuirostrisCC10; incl. Anous melanops Gould 1845WS48]

Chlidonias Rafinesque 1822BKB15, CC10 [=Hydrochelidon Boie 1822CC10; incl. Maoristerna Mathews 1944CC10]

Chlidonias albostriatus (Gray 1845)BKB15, CC10 [=Hydrochelidon albostriataCC10, Chlidonias hybrida albistriataCC10, C. albostriataCC10, C. hybrida albostriatusCC10, Hydrochelidon albistriataCC10, *Maoristerna albostriataCC10, Sterna albistriataCC10, Sterna albostriataCC10; incl. Sterna antarctica Forster in Wagler 1832 non Lesson 1831CC10, Sternula antarcticaCC10, Sterna cinerea Ellman 1861 non Haldeman 1843CC10]

Chlidonias hybrida (Pallas 1811)BKB15, CC10 [=Sterna hybridaCC10, C. hybridusCC10, Hydrochelidon hybridaCC10]

Chlidonias ‘hybridus’ javanicus (Horsfield 1821)CC10 [=Sterna javanicaCC10, S. hybrida javanicaS90; incl. Hydrochelidon fluviatilis Gould 1843CC10, Chlidonias hybrida fluviatilisWS48, C. leucopareia fluviatilisCC10, Hydrochelidon leucopareia rogersi Mathews 1912WS48]

Chlidonias leucopterus (Temminck 1815)BKB15, CC10 [=Sterna leucopteraCC10, Childonias (l. c.) leucopteraCC10, Chlidonias leucopteraCC10, Hydrochelidon leucopteraCC10]

Gelochelidon nilotica macrotarsa Gould 1837CC10 [=Sterna nilotica macrotarsaSJ85; incl. G. nilotica cloatesi Mathews 1924WS48]

*Gygis alba candida (Gmelin 1789) [=Sterna candida, Leucanous albus candidus; incl. G. alba royana Mathews 1912, L. albus royanus]CC10

*Hydroprogne caspia (Pallas 1770)CC10 [=*Heroprogne caspiaCC10, Sterna caspia CC10, *Sylochelidon caspiusCC10; incl. Sterna major Ellman 1861CC10, Hydroprogne tschegrava oliveri Mathews & Iredale 1913CC10, H. caspia oliveriCC10, Sylochelidon strenuus Gould 1846CC10, H. caspia strenuaCC10, H. tschegrava strenuaCC10, Sterna (Sylochelidon) strenuusCC10, Sylochelidon strenuaCC10, Sterna tschegrava Lepechin 1770 (nom. rej.)CC10, Hydroprogne tschegravaS70]

Onychoprion anaethetus (Scopoli 1786)BKB15, CC10 [=Sterna anaethetusCC10; incl. Melanosterna anaethetus rogersi Mathews 1915WS48]

*Onychoprion fuscatus serratus (Forster in Wagler 1830)CC10 [=Sterna fuscata serrataCC10, S. fuscata serratusCC10; incl. O. fuscatus glauerti Mathews 1922WS48, O. fuscatus kermadeci Mathews 1916CC10, Sterna fuscata kermadeciCC10]

Procelsterna albivitta Bonaparte 1856JT12, CC10 [=P. cerulea albivittaCC10, P. cerulea albivittataCC10, Anous cinereus Gould 1846 non Sterna cinerea Haldeman 1843CC10, P. cerulea cinereaCC10; incl. P. cerulea kermadeci Mathews 1916CC10]

Sternula albifrons (Pallas in Vroeg 1764)BKB15, CC10 [=Sterna albifronsCC10; incl. Sterna minuta Linnaeus 1766CC10, *Sternula minutaCC10]

Sternula albifrons sinensis (Gmelin 1789) [=Sterna albifrons sinensis; incl. Sternula inconspicua Masters 1875, Sternula placens Gould 1871, Sterna sinensis placens, Sterna sinensis tormenti Mathews 1912]CC10

*Type species of generic name indicated


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