Monitoring conservation work for the EU LIFE+ nature little tern recovery project

The little tern is suffering the effects of climate change and human disturbance, resulting in it becoming one of the UK's rarest breeding seabirds.

Little tern at nest, wing stretching after incubating.


The little tern is one of our rarest and also one of the smallest breeding seabirds. UK little tern numbers have been in decline due to reduced productivity through disturbance, predation, food shortages and extreme weather conditions.
The aim of the EU Life+ Nature Little Tern Recovery Project is to lay down the foundations for the long-term recovery of little terns in the UK by increasing numbers of breeding pairs and productivity, identifying long-term plans for conservation and increasing public awareness and support.


  • To produce a monitoring programme for key UK little tern colonies. Analyse and interpret results of monitoring, draw conclusions and recommendations to aid little tern population recovery.
  • Improve our understanding of little tern demography (such as age of first breeding, and first year or long term survival) through colour ringing and re-sighting at key colonies.


The project began in September 2013 and is a five year project.


Please revisit for details.


Coast on a stormy day

Dr Leah Williams

Conservation Scientist, RSPB

Further reading

Tagged with: Country: UK Habitat: Marine and intertidal Project status: Ongoing Project types: Species protection