Royal Tern
Sterna maxima

To identify, look for a large size bird with a heavy reddish-orange bill and a black cap that may be held briefly during breeding (the forehead is white). The mantle is gray, the outer wings are blackish on the underside. The legs and feet are black. The tail is short and forked. There will be a shaggy band around the back of its head. The overall size is 18 to 29 inches. Its preferred habitat is marshes, estuaries, and coasts. The Royal Tern is almost as big as a Herring Gull, and with its soaring flight, it behaves like one. It breeds along the southern coast.

Use BACK button to return to Index