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Charadriiformes > Laridae

Royal Tern

Thalasseus maximus

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Identification

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Large tern, found strictly in coastal areas. Feeds in open ocean and saltwater bays, where it flies high above the water looking for small fish. Rests on beaches, often in groups with other species. Separated from many terns by large size; only slightly smaller than Caspian. Look for the thinner orange bill (usually not deep red) and shaggier crest compared with Caspian. Also, forehead whiter than Caspian Tern in the nonbreeding season; this can show as early as midsummer.

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Learn more about Royal Tern from…

All About Birds

Your Online Guide To Birds And Bird Watching

Birds of North America

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Life histories of all species breeding in Mexico, Central America, and South America