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Royal Tern in New Jersey
Royal Tern in New Jersey

The Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus) is a tern in the family Laridae. It has a red-orange bill and a black cap during the breeding season, but in the winter the cap becomes patchy. The Royal Tern is found in Europe, Africa, the Americas, and the Caribbean islands. The Royal Tern lives on the coast and is only found near salt water. They tend to feed near the shore, close to the beach or in backwater bays. [Wikipedia]

Royal Tern in New Jersey
Royal Tern in New Jersey

Royal Tern Facts [All About Birds]

  • 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 creche. Eventually all of the chicks in a colony come to the creche, 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.
  • The oldest recorded Royal tern was at least 30 years, 6 months old when it was found in Belize in 2013. It had been banded in North Carolina in 1983.
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