Sternula albifrons (21 to 24 cm)
The Little Tern is the smallest tern in Australia. It is globally in decline and listed as “vulnerable” in Victoria. But small numbers do breed in summer on sand islands in the Gippsland Lakes.
Only slightly smaller than the Fairy Tern, with small differences in plumage stages, referring to a field guide could help make a distinction. It is gregarious and often associates with other terns, patrolling shores of sandy islands in the lakes.
Keeping dogs on a leash when walking them on the beach reduces disturbance to these birds.