Editor's PickAugust 1, 2022

Editor’s Pick: The Fascinating World of Terns, a Unique Aspect of the Maldives Ecosystem

The Maldives is well-known for its unparalleled natural beauty. Its isles, like pearls, are scattered across the crystal-clear Indian Ocean, making it an ideal home for various fauna that thrive in tropical environments.

One such group is known as Laridae, a family of medium to large seabirds. Part of this group, which includes gulls and skimmers, are terns. Very present in the Maldives, terns are among the most fascinating natural features of the country.


If you spot them in the distance while sailing on a dhoni, there may be a sandbank or sand tongue surfacing in the middle of the ocean over there. Sandbanks are a place of gathering, refreshment and rest for them.

Going ashore, more than anywhere else, it is possible to admire them up close and see them soar. That is the exact moment you’ll be fascinated by their wonderful dance up in the sky.

Although they avoid contact with humans, terns are calm animals with a good degree of confidence. You can get within a few steps of them, and seeing them walk just ahead of you on the beach is not an unusual experience.

On the contrary, you can often admire their physical features with your own eyes: their colours (usually in shades of black and white), their webbed feet, and the stout, elongated beaks they use to fish.

Starting from the NAKAI Resorts of Alimathà and Dhiggiri, both located in the Vaavu Atoll, one of the most pristine in the Maldives, you can sail towards one of the many sand banks in this area to encounter them.

When you have had this experience, it will be easy to see why terns are not only an integral part of the Maldives’ ecosystem, but also why they are always a key part of the memories of those who visit this place.

Feature photo credits: Ibrahim Asad (Asad.Photo)