A RARE species of bird could become a victim of climate change, the RSPB has warned.
Little terns, which nest on an island in Langstone Harbour and also at Pagham Harbour, are at risk from the warming sea and increased coastal flooding.
Ivan Lang, conservation warden at Pagham, said: ‘With warming of the seas, the bait fish which the little terns feed on do not come to the surface, as they prefer the nutritionally-rich cooler water, so they are likely to move north.
‘Changing populations and distribution of sand eels means this food source is less available, too.’
Pagham and Langstone are among fewer than 60 breeding sites around the UK.
Susan Rendell-Read, the RSPB’s little tern project manager, said: ‘Little terns are at the forefront of the battle against climate change. They need undisturbed sand and shingle beaches with a plentiful supply of small fish just offshore.
‘These beaches can be altered by rising seas and floods, making them unsuitable for birds to nest.’