Royal Tern

royal tern walking along beach
Royal tern. Image by Akiroq Brost from Pixabay
AppearanceThe royal tern is a squatty waterbird about 18″ long with a black crest, bright orange bill, gray above, and white underparts.
DietFish, crustaceans, and fish.
Feeder FoodN/A
HabitatShallow, coastal waters and rivers near shore.
NestingRoyal terns are ground nesters. They dig a shallow hole in the sand.
Broods: 1 brood/season
Clutch: 1-2 eggs/brood
Egg color: White/brown with reddish/brown spots
Incubation: Incubation is for about 28-35 days. Within 2-3 days after hatching the young leaves the nest. After about 4-5 weeks they’ve taken their first flight.

Range Map

Royal tern range map.
Royal tern range map. Compliments of The Cornell Lab.