|Genus||Species||subspecies||Breeding Range||Breeding Range 2||Non Breeding Range|
|Thalasseus||maximus||NA, LA, AF||coasts|
|Thalasseus||maximus||albididorsalis||Mauritania to Guinea||to Namibia|
|Thalasseus||maximus||maximus||s California (USA) to Peru, Florida and West Indies to Argentina|
Juvenile resembles non breeding adult, with smaller pale yellow bill, some dark spots on back and darker wingtips.
Listen to the sound of Royal Tern
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
|wingspan min.:||107||cm||wingspan max.:||110||cm|
|size min.:||43||cm||size max.:||47||cm|
|incubation min.:||30||days||incubation max.:||31||days|
|fledging min.:||28||days||fledging max.:||35||days|
Male and female take turns to brood the single egg, but they can abandon it sometimes and for several hours. Both parents raise the young covered with brown and buff down.
On the American continent, chicks leave the nest 24 hours after hatching and gather into large creches when they are two or three days old.
In Africa, they remain at nest during one week, and take part to a creche at about 15 days after hatching.
Young remain within these creches until their first flights, and parents feed only their own young, recognizing it by its call.
Although the young tern is able to fly at one month, it remains dependent from its parents during five to eight month, for protection and feeding.
It flies at about 5 to 10 metres above the water, along the beaches, searching for fish and other preys. Royal Tern fishes alone or in pairs, but sometimes in flocks too. These groups may contain up to 150 birds.
Usually, it remains at about 100 metres from the shore, but when it searches for food for the chick, it may flies away up to 65 km from the colony, along the coast.
When a prey is located, it hovers just above this one, with bill pointed downwards. Then it dives vertically and catches the prey with its bill. Royal Tern feeds mainly on small fish, but it also consumes crabs, shrimps and squids. It also follows fish boats, in order to eat the debris ejected out of the boat.
Louisiana, central Florida, Caribbean coast of Central America and north
and northeastern South America.