- 17.7–19.7 in
- 49.2–53.1 in
- 12.3–15.9 oz
- Sterne royale (French)
- Charrán real, Gaviota real, Gaviotin real, Golondrina-marina real, Golondrina Tirra canalera, Pagaza real (Spanish)
- The Royal Tern makes its nest scrape on the ground on low-lying islands. The pair defecates directly on the nest rim, perhaps to reinforce the nest against flooding. After a few weeks, the nest rim hardens.
- Young Royal Terns leave the nest scrape within one day after hatching and congregate together in a group known as a crÃ¨che. Eventually all of the chicks in a colony come to the crÃ¨che, which can have thousands of chicks ranging in age from two to 35 days old. A pair of Royal Terns will feed only their own chick, and manage to find it in the crowd, probably by recognizing its call.
Fish and shrimp.
- Egg Description
- Whitish to brown, heavily spotted around large end.
- Condition at Hatching
- Eyes open. Covered with down and able to leave nest within one day.
A scrape in ground. Nesting colonies occur on island beaches.
Flies over water with bill pointing down; plunges into water to catch fish.
United States population appears stable.
- Buckley, P. A., and F. G. Buckley. 2002. Royal Tern (Sterna maxima). In The Birds of North America, No. 700 (A. Poole and F. Gill,eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.