In Bermuda, only three species of breeding seabirds survived four centuries of human activity, dating back to the settlement of the archipelago in 1609. This paper reports two consecutive years of nesting data on the Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii), a historic breeder in Bermuda last recorded breeding in 1849. A pair was discovered incubating an egg on 7 July 2018 on Pearl Island, and a pair, plus one additional adult, returned to this islet to breed in 2019. Roseate Terns and nests were intensively monitored using offshore observations and video recordings. In 2018, the single egg hatched on 24 July and the chick fledged on 18 August (fledging period = 25 d). In 2019, we found a two-egg clutch on 4 June, which hatched on 15 and 17 June. The two chicks were flying by 13 July (fledging periods = 26-28 d). The breeding Roseate Terns in Bermuda are probably derived from the Caribbean/Bahamas population. The two-year nest-site fidelity of Roseate Terns, following absence for at least 140 years, suggests that this species is potentially reestablishing itself as a breeder in Bermuda. Future studies should determine the genetic origin of the birds, determine if the observed pairs are the same individuals using leg bands, record population growth, and compare the nesting biology of Bermudian Roseate Terns to that of the Bermudian Common Terns (Sterna hirundo).
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Vol. 43 • No. 1