Little tern pairs at Winterton Dunes rise by a third

image copyrightKevin Simmonds
image captionMany little tern colonies in the UK have been lost, the RSPB says

The number of breeding pairs of a rare seabird at a Norfolk colony have increased by a third, making it the UK's largest.

There are about 1,900 pairs of little terns in Britain.

After a count by the RSPB the Winterton Dunes colony is now home to more than 300 pairs, up by 100 on last year.

The charity said the boost was down to work carried out to protect the shy birds from predators, dogs and human disturbance.

The birds, which live up the age of 14, fly from their winter homes in west Africa to spend summer on the British coast.

image copyrightRSPB
image captionLittle tern chicks can often be harmed by passers-by

Danny Hercock, RSPB warden, said: "Each summer, little terns face a number of threats. Even toy kites, which can appear as large birds of prey, can cause these flighty birds to leave their nest and abandon their colony."

Over the summer the charity hopes to put on a number of events and guided walks at the site to help improve public awareness.

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