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GALLERIES > BIRDS > CHARADRIIFORMES > LARIDAE > ROYAL TERN [Thalasseus maximus]


Royal Tern Picture @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: San Pedro (Cabrillo Beach), CA
GPS: 33.7N, -118.3W, elev=5' MAP
Date: November 9, 2011
ID : B13K9868 [4896 x 3264]

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Royal Tern Photo @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Playa del Rey (Ballona Creek), CA
GPS: 34.0N, -118.4W, elev=0' MAP
Date: April 2, 2016
ID : B13K1290 [4896 x 3264]

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Royal Tern Photo @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Playa del Rey (Ballona Creek), CA
GPS: 34.0N, -118.4W, elev=0' MAP
Date: April 2, 2016
ID : B13K1268 [4896 x 3264]

nature photography

Royal Tern Picture @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Playa del Rey, CA
GPS: 33.9N, -118.4W, elev=50' MAP
Date: January 29, 2016
ID : B13K0085 [4896 x 3264]

bird photography

Royal Tern Photo @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Playa del Rey, CA
GPS: 33.9N, -118.4W, elev=50' MAP
Date: January 29, 2016
ID : B13K0081 [4896 x 3264]

nature photography

Royal Tern Photo @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Playa del Rey, CA
GPS: 33.9N, -118.4W, elev=50' MAP
Date: January 29, 2016
ID : B13K0083 [4896 x 3264]

bird photography

Royal Tern Image @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Playa del Rey, CA
GPS: 33.9N, -118.4W, elev=50' MAP
Date: January 29, 2016
ID : B13K0084 [4896 x 3264]

nature photography

Royal Tern Photo @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Playa del Rey (Ballona Creek), CA
GPS: 34.0N, -118.4W, elev=0' MAP
Date: August 26, 2013
ID : B13K4075 [4896 x 3264]

nature photography

Royal Tern Image @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Dockweiler Beach, CA
GPS: 33.9N, -118.4W, elev=16' MAP
Date: February 1, 2014
ID : B13K5733 [4896 x 3264]

bird photography

Royal Tern (immature w/bright orange legs)
 
 
Location: Playa del Rey (Ballona Creek), CA
GPS: 34.0N, -118.4W, elev=0' MAP
Date: September 23, 2013
ID : B13K4622 [4896 x 3264]

nature photography

Royal Tern (juvenile)
 
 
Location: Playa del Rey (Ballona Creek), CA
GPS: 34.0N, -118.4W, elev=0' MAP
Date: August 26, 2013
ID : B13K4091 [4896 x 3264]

bird photography

Royal Tern Image @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Playa del Rey (Ballona Creek), CA
GPS: 34.0N, -118.4W, elev=0' MAP
Date: July 23, 2013
ID : B13K3775 [4896 x 3264]

nature photography

Royal Tern Picture @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Playa del Rey, CA
GPS: 33.9N, -118.4W, elev=50' MAP
Date: January 27, 2013
ID : B13K1932 [4896 x 3264]

bird photography

Royal Tern Picture @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Playa del Rey (Ballona Creek), CA
GPS: 34.0N, -118.4W, elev=0' MAP
Date: March 3, 2012
ID : B13K4436 [4896 x 3264]

nature photography

Royal Tern (juvenile)
 
 
Location: San Pedro (Cabrillo Beach), CA
GPS: 33.7N, -118.3W, elev=5' MAP
Date: November 9, 2011
ID : B13K9874 [4896 x 3264]

bird photography

Royal Tern Photo @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Playa del Rey (Ballona Creek), CA
GPS: 34.0N, -118.4W, elev=0' MAP
Date: March 3, 2012
ID : B13K4450 [4896 x 3264]

bird photography

Royal Tern Picture @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Bolivar Flats, TX
GPS: 29.4N, -94.7W, elev=1' MAP
Date: August 28, 2009
ID : 7C2V2330 [3888 x 2592]

Royal Tern Photo @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Port Aransas, TX
GPS: 27.8N, -97.1W, elev=8' MAP
Date: February 1, 2009
ID : 7C2V4393 [3888 x 2592]

nature photography

Royal Tern (juvenile)
 
 
Location: Bolivar Flats, TX
GPS: 29.4N, -94.7W, elev=1' MAP
Date: August 31, 2009
ID : 7C2V3821 [3888 x 2592]

Royal Tern (juvenile)
 
 
Location: Bolivar Flats, TX
GPS: 29.4N, -94.7W, elev=1' MAP
Date: August 31, 2009
ID : 7C2V3823 [3888 x 2592]

bird photography

Royal Tern Photo @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Playa del Rey, CA
GPS: 33.9N, -118.4W, elev=50' MAP
Date: April 3, 2009
ID : 7C2V6561 [3888 x 2592]

Royal Tern Picture @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Playa del Rey, CA
GPS: 33.9N, -118.4W, elev=50' MAP
Date: May 13, 2008
ID : 0092 [3888 x 2592]

nature photography

Royal Tern Photo @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Playa del Rey, CA
GPS: 33.9N, -118.4W, elev=50' MAP
Date: May 13, 2008
ID : 0089 [3888 x 2592]

Royal Tern Image @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Playa del Rey, CA
GPS: 33.9N, -118.4W, elev=50' MAP
Date: May 13, 2008
ID : 0102 [3888 x 2592]

nature photography

Royal Tern Image @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Playa del Rey (Ballona Creek), CA
GPS: 34.0N, -118.4W, elev=0' MAP
Date: April 23, 2008
ID : 8822 [3888 x 2592]

Royal Tern Image @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Playa del Rey (Ballona Creek), CA
GPS: 34.0N, -118.4W, elev=0' MAP
Date: April 21, 2008
ID : 8664 [3888 x 2592]

bird photography

Royal Tern Photo @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Playa del Rey (Ballona Creek), CA
GPS: 34.0N, -118.4W, elev=0' MAP
Date: March 10, 2008
ID : 5701 [3888 x 2592]

Royal Tern Picture @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Jekyll Island, GA
GPS: 31.1N, -81.4W, elev=7' MAP
Date: February 10, 2008
ID : 3673 [3888 x 2592]

nature photography

Royal Tern Picture @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Jekyll Island, GA
GPS: 31.1N, -81.4W, elev=7' MAP
Date: February 10, 2008
ID : 3701 [3888 x 2592]

Royal Tern Picture @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Jekyll Island, GA
GPS: 31.1N, -81.4W, elev=7' MAP
Date: February 10, 2008
ID : 3713 [3888 x 2592]

bird photography

Royal Tern Picture @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Jekyll Island, GA
GPS: 31.1N, -81.4W, elev=7' MAP
Date: February 10, 2008
ID : 3714 [3888 x 2592]

bird photography

SPECIES INFO

The Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus, syn. Sterna maxima - see Bridge et al., 2005) is a seabird in the tern family Sternidae. This bird has two distinctive subspecies.

T. m. maximus breeds on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the southern USA and Mexico into the Caribbean. The slightly smaller T. m. albididorsalis breeds in coastal west Africa.

American birds winter south to Peru and Argentina, and African breeders move both north and south from the breeding colonies.

African birds may reach as far north as Spain. This species has also wandered to western Europe as a rare vagrant, these records probably being from the American colonies.

This species breeds in colonies on coasts and islands. It nests in a ground scrape and lays one or two eggs. Like all white terns, it is fiercely defensive of its nest and young.

Royal Tern feeds by plunge-diving for fish, usually from saline environments, like most Sterna terns. It usually dives directly, and not from the "stepped-hover" favoured by Arctic Tern. The offering of fish by the male to the female is part of the courtship display.

This is a large tern, second only to Caspian Tern but is unlikely to be confused with that carrot-billed giant, which has extensive dark underwing patches. Royal Tern has a long yellow bill, pale grey upperparts and white underparts. Its legs are black. In winter, the black cap becomes patchy. Juvenile Royal Terns have a scaly-backed appearance. The call is a characteristic loud grating noise like a Sandwich Tern.

In various parts of its range, Royal could be confused with Elegant Tern, Great Crested Tern and Lesser Crested Tern (see also Orange-billed tern). It is paler above than Lesser Crested Tern and the yellow-billed Great Crested Tern. Elegant Tern has a longer more curved bill and shows more white on the forehead in winter.

The appearance of apparent Elegant Terns in European waters means that records of Royal and Elegant Terns will need to be re-evaluated, since the latter species was thought an improbable migrant to the area.

The Royal Tern is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.



                                     




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royal_tern's Range Map Click here to see the Royal Tern's range map!
Listen to the Royal Tern Song:



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