The specific epithet maximus is Latin for "greatest".. The colonies may number hundreds, or sometimes thousands of pairs, and this is good protection against predators from the air, as these cannot land within the colony.  Neither the plate caption nor Buffon's description included a scientific name but in 1783 the Dutch naturalist Pieter Boddaert coined the binomial name Sterna maxima in his catalogue of the Planches Enluminées. Our results show that seabirds were the main prey of Peregrine Falcons breeding at Punta León. Diet / Feeding. They may hover above the water before plunge diving for prey. The royal tern has few predators when it is mature, but before the chicks hatch or while they are chicks the tern is threatened by humans, other animals, and the tides. An adult royal tern has an average wingspan of 130 cm (51 in), for both sexes, but their wingspan can range from 125–135 cm (49–53 in). The Common Black-headed Gull takes eggs and chicks. Inca terns follow fishing boats and often associate with whales and sea lions when feeding, stealing food from these fellow marine mammals.  There are little other conservation efforts because the royal tern's status is of least concern. PROTECTION / THREATS / STATUS: Royal Tern populations decline in some parts of the range. This is a large tern, second only to Caspian tern but is unlikely to be confused with the carrot-billed giant, which has extensive dark under wing patches. Also, but less frequently, the royal terns will hunt for fish in open water, typically within about 100 metres (110 yards) off the shore. The Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus, syn. In winter, the black cap becomes patchy. Their bill is bright orange-red, but a different shade of red than Caspian Terns.  The royal tern feeds on small crabs, such as young blue crabs that swim near the surface of the water. About Located in the heart of Johns Island on Maybank Highway, The Royal Tern is a family restaurant and neighborhood eatery. The royal tern is also in the family Sternidae because of its white plumage, black cap on its head, long bill, webbed feet, and bodies that are more streamlined than those of gulls. Their nest is just a simple shallow scrape on the ground. Aspects of foraging and breeding ecology of the Royal Tern, Sterna[=Thalasseus]maxima, Common Tern, Sterna hirundo, and Black Skimmer, Rynchops niger, were compared in light of the food resource. When feeding they fly long distances from the colony to forage. The Royal Tern Nestled in the heart of Johns Island, The Royal Tern is a family restaurant and neighborhood eatery. Their populations have since made a substantial comeback in the 20th century. Fish are their main source of food but they also eat insects, shrimp, and crabs. Currently this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) and its numbers today remain stable. Fishing nets can catch a tern while it is diving, making it unable to feed or it may cause it to drown if it is caught under water. Primary objectives were to document common prey species, annual and seasonal vari-ation in prey selection, and seasonal variation in prey size based on average bill length in this species. The Royal tern is the second biggest tern after the Caspian tern. What I coincidence – I had a banded Royal Tern at Forsythe in early September that was banded on 7/17 near Chincoteague! The royal tern (Thalasseus maximus) is a tern in the family Laridae. Status: Least Concern  When the chicks are in the crèche, they are primarily fed by their parents who recognize their offspring by their voice and looks. m. One egg is laid and incubation is for around 25 to 31 days, by both parents. Life Cycle. This bird is gregarious, and breeds in colonies and roosts in flocks. Its legs are black. When feeding on small crabs the royal tern does not use its normal plunge-dive technique, but instead uses short shallow dives so that they are concealed from their prey. The greater crested often associates with the lesser crested tern, but is 25% larger than the latter, with a proportionately longer bill, longer and heavier head, and bulkier body. Royal Terns usually forage alone or in groups around estuaries, lagoons and mangroves. , The royal tern typically feeds in small secluded bodies of water such as estuaries, mangroves, and lagoons. Both the male and the female incubate the egg for 30-31 days. Both genders look alike. , The royal tern usually feeds on small fish such as anchovies, weakfish, and croakers. These birds winter on the Pacific Coast, in Washington to Peru, and from Texas on the Atlantic Coast through the Caribbean and to southern Brazil. , American birds migrate south to Peru and Argentina for the winter to escape the cold weather.  When the chicks are a month old they fledge or start to fly.  The royal tern is now placed in the genus Thalasseus that was erected by the German zoologist Friedrich Boie in 1822. , "Diet of royal (Thalasseus Maximus) and sandwich (T. Sandvicensis) terns during the Austral winter in the Buenos Aires Province, Argentina", "Ground-Nesting Waterbirds and Mammalian Carnivores in the Virginia Barrier Island Region: Running out of Options", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Royal_tern&oldid=982017643, Native birds of the Eastern United States, Native birds of the Southeastern United States, Articles with dead external links from December 2017, Articles with permanently dead external links, Taxonbars with automatically added original combinations, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 5 October 2020, at 18:35. The AEWA covers 255 species that depend on wetlands for part of their life. Its bill also becomes somewhat paler in the non-breeding season. Royal Tern. A group of royal terns is known as a “highness.” Royal tern populations seriously declined in the late 1800s and early 1900s when eggs were used as food. The royal tern was originally placed in the genus Sterna; however, a 2005 study suggest that it is actually part of the genus Thalasseus.. In various parts of its range, the royal tern could be confused with the elegant tern, lesser crested tern (the other orange-billed terns), and the greater crested tern. The Royal tern is a diurnal animal and it feeds alone or with a small group, by flying several meters above the water’s surface and then diving, but it does not submerge. It is presently classified as Thalasseus maximus, which places it with six other seabirds from the tern family. In a large colony there can be thousands of chicks in the crèche. The eggs incubate from 25 to 30 days; after the eggs hatch the chicks remain in the scrape for about a week. DIET: Royal Tern feeds on small fish (in average 6-7 cm long), squid, shrimps and crabs. Habitat: They are found along coastal beaches. Royal terns are monogamous, but it is not clear whether such pair bonds are maintained between seasons. Description: Royal Terns are large and similar to Caspian Terns. Primarily a coastal species, this bird is typically found in inshore waters, lagoons, bays, harbors, estuaries, mangroves and salt marshes. Disclaimer: The Animal Diversity Web is an educational resource written largely by and for college students.ADW doesn't cover all species in the world, nor does it include all the latest scientific information about organisms we describe. Fish, crustaceans. Royal Terns fly gracefully and slowly along coastlines, diving for small fish, which they capture with a swift strike of their daggerlike bills. The royal tern plunges into the water and catches small fish and shrimp. Nests in colonies. The reason there is little concern for the extinction of the royal tern is that the species has not experienced a significant enough decrease in population to become threatened or endangered. The Elegant Tern feeds by plunge-diving for fish, almost invariably from the sea, like most Thalasseus terns. Waterbirds 29(3): 395-400, 2006 In North America, the Royal Tern (Sterna maxima) is a conspicuous colonial-nesting waterbird that primarily breeds on barrier is-lands or man-made dredge islands along the mid-Atlantic seaboard. The female usually lays just one egg in an unlined scrape on the ground.  African birds may reach as far north as Spain. Key words.-Royal Tern, Sterna maxima, chick diet, Fisherman Island, Virginia, prey switching. Royal and Sandwich tern adults partitioned food resources by prey species and prey size, while chick diet showed more overlap in prey species composition. The royal tern feeds in salt water and on very rare occasions in fresh water. Usually, a male will bring a fish to the female. A Royal tern defecates directly onto the rim of its nest, perhaps to reinforce it against flooding, as in a few weeks, the rim of the nest hardens. Colonies are vulnerable to flooding and egging. Usually first breeds at age of 4 years. We detected no age-related differences in Royal Tern prey size or selection; however, our sample was relatively small and further research is warranted. Diet: Feeds on small fish, but they also eat insects, shrimp, and crabs. Eats wide variety of small fish, also shrimp, squid. These terns nest in a large, dense colony of several thousand pairs, and often there are gull species amongst them. The entire breeding Royal Tern (Sterna maxima) chick diet at Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia, was investigated in 2003 and 2004. Food: Fish constitutes the bulk of the diet for Royal … This bird has two distinctive subspecies, T. m. maximus which lives on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the North and South America. African and North American populations typically breed from April to August, and in South America it is between October and March. A sleek seabird of warm saltwater coasts, the Royal Tern lives up to its regal name with a tangerine-colored bill and ragged, ink-black crest against crisp white plumage. The Royal tern usually forages no more than 100 meters from the shoreline, but often this will be up to 30-40 km distant from the colony. yenne Terns, followed by Royal Tern chicks (4.3%) and Kelp Gull chicks (4.3%). The breeding plumage is a black crown with a distinctive black shaggy crest.  The bird was also illustrated in a hand-coloured plate engraved by François-Nicolas Martinet in the Planches Enluminées D'Histoire Naturelle which was produced under the supervision of Edme-Louis Daubenton to accompany Buffon's text. Sterna maxima, see Bridge et al., 2005) is a seabird in the tern family Sternidae. Other threats involve: overfishing, human disturbance at nesting sites, egg collection, oil spills and discharge of chemicals and sewage into the sea, especially in the Rio de la Plata area in Argentina and Uruguay.