Description The Royal Tern 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. This is a large tern. American birds migrate south to Peru and Argentina for the winter to escape the cold weather. African breeders move both north and south from the breeding colonies. African birds may reach as far north as Spain. The Royal Tern typically feeds in small secluded bodies of water such as estuaries, mangroves, and lagoons. Also, but less fequently, the Royal Terns will hunt for fish in open water, tipically within about 100 yrds. of the shore. The Royal Tern feeds in salt water and there are very few occasions when they have been seen feeding in fresh water. When feeding they will fly long distances from the colony to forage. The Royal Tern feeds by diving into the water from heights near 30 feet. They usually feed solitarily or in groups of two or three, but on occasion they have been seen feeding in large groups when there is a large schools of fish are present. The Royal Tern usually feeds on small fish such as anchovies, weakfish, and croakers. Fish are the main source of food for the Royal Tern but they also been found eating insects, shrimp, and crabs. The crabs that the Royal Tern feeds on are usually small crabs, such as blue crabs, that are swiming on the top of the water. When feeding on these small crabs the Royal Tern does not use with its normal plunge-dive techneque, but instead uses short shallow dives so that the crabs do not see the tern coming. The Royal Tern also uses this technique when hunting flying fish. The Royal Tern nests on the beaches of islands or on isolated beaches with limited predators. It lays one or two eggs, usually in a scrape, an area on the ground where a tern has made a small hole to lay its eggs, but in some cases tern eggs have been
Daniel Kaufman, Tampa Member Since January 2011 Artist Statement Welcome to my store. I specialize in sunrise, sunset, landscape and bird photography. Many of my photographs can be ordered in larger sizes. All photographs are shot with quality photographic equipment by me.
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