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Birds

Royal
Tern

Least Concern

Stable

Royal Tern

Thalasseus maximus

The Royal Tern is a seabird. It 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.

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. The offering of fish by the male to the female is part of the courtship display.

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Regional Names
  • French:
    Sterne royale
Media Gallery
Taxanomy

CHARADRIIFORMES
LARIDAE
Thalasseus maximus

Royal Tern

Range Map

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