Royal Tern by AuntDot

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Canon PowerShot SX260 HS; 1/400, f/6.8, ISO 100, focal length 90mm; AUTO setting

This Royal Tern obligingly posed like its cousin the Forster’s Tern, so I could get a good comparison of the two birds. (See my photo of the Forster’s Tern here) This was taken in Cedar Key, Florida, USA.

FEATURED in The Birds, Nov. 19, 2012

The Royal Tern (Sterna maxima) is a slender, long-winged, long-billed bird. It has an orange bill, spiky black crest at the rear of the head, black legs and white face and belly with pale gray back and upper wings. Adults are easily noticeable by the black mask over their eyes.
The royal tern weights 12-15 ounces, is about 19-20 inches in size, and has a wingspan of 49-53 inches.
Terns are found along the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, California, and north to Maryland. The Royal Tern is almost entirely restricted to salt water, where it frequents harbors, estuaries, sandy beaches, and nearshore waters on the coast. However, it is now being seen more frequently, especially in winter, over inland lakes and at phosphate mines in Florida.
The Royal Tern makes its nest scrape on the ground on low-lying islands. Eggs are whitish to brown, heavily spotted around the larger end. Incubation is about a month and young also take about a month to fledge.
Terns forage on shrimp and other aquatic invertebrates. They hover before diving and have been known to steal food from pelicans.

Having lived most of my life in the northeast U.S., I am enjoying retired life in sunny Florida. I enjoy photographing many different kinds of things, but especially flowers and animals, including the beautiful birds found here in Florida. I am currently using a Canon EOS Rebel XSi/450D camera, a Canon 55-250 mm telescopic zoom lens, and a Sony P10 Cyber-shot digital camera. My newest acquisition is a Canon PowerShot SX260 HS, a point and shoot which I will be carrying in my purse.

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  • Bonnie T.  Barry
    Bonnie T. Barryover 2 years ago

    ABSOLUTELY wonderful! Great color, clarity, composition! You get 100 A+ from this retired school teacher!

  • Thanks for the 100 A+, Bonnie! I used to teach third grade, so I know how valuable that is. I’m smiling as my students did when they got a grade like that! LOL

    – AuntDot

  • Monnie Ryan
    Monnie Ryanover 2 years ago

    Wonderful composition and detail, Dot!

  • Thank you so much, Monnie!

    – AuntDot

  • Maisie Sinclair
    Maisie Sinclairover 2 years ago

    I love this! Great job!

  • Thank you so very much, Maisie!

    – AuntDot

  • Linda  Makiej
    Linda Makiejover 2 years ago

    really beautiful!

  • Thanks much, Linda!

    – AuntDot

  • AndreaEL
    AndreaELover 2 years ago

    What an interesting looking guy, beautifully captured Dot… I love the Terns

  • Thanks so much, Andrea. I don’t get to see them much, and this is the first time I’ve learned one from the other.

    – AuntDot

  • Chris Armytage™
    Chris Armytage™over 2 years ago

    Beautiful capture Dot!

  • Thank you soooooo much, Chris!

    – AuntDot

  • Ray Clarke
    Ray Clarkeover 2 years ago

  • Thanks Ray!

    – AuntDot

  • John44
    John44over 2 years ago

    A work of art. Beautifully done Tante Dot :-)

  • Thank you kindly, John!

    – AuntDot

    JUSTARTover 2 years ago

    great shot

  • Thanks so much, Sylvia!

    – AuntDot

  • Kathy Baccari
    Kathy Baccariover 2 years ago

    Fantastic capture Dot. Aren’t they just awesome birds. Super and a fave. :)

  • Thanks, Kathy. It’s a good thing some birds stand on posts, or I might never get a photo. They are always too quick for me when they are flying! LOL

    – AuntDot

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