Royal Tern

The Royal Tern is a seabird that belongs to the family Laridae. This bird is known for its vibrant orange bill, which sets it apart from other tern species. In this blog post, we will explore the basic description of the Royal Tern, where to find it, its habitat, food preferences and some cool facts about this majestic bird.

Basic Description

The Royal Tern typically measures between 17-21 inches in length with a wingspan of 40-43 inches. The adult birds have pale grey upperparts and white underparts with black tips on their primary feathers visible in flight. As mentioned earlier, they are distinguished by their long orange bills that turn slightly yellow towards the tip during breeding season.

Where To Find This Bird

Royal Terns can be found throughout North America’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts. They are also commonly seen in Central and South America as well as parts of Africa and Asia during non-breeding seasons.


The Royal Tern prefers nesting on sandy beaches or islands along coastlines. During winter months outside of breeding season, they can be found along estuaries or bays within close proximity to shorelines.


Royal Terns feed primarily on small fish such as anchovies or sand eels but may also consume crustaceans such as crabs or shrimp while foraging above shallow waters near shorelines.

Cool Facts

Did you know that unlike many other bird species who migrate solo or in pairs? Royal terns often travel together in large flocks numbering up to several hundred individuals! Another interesting fact about these magnificent birds is that they have been documented engaging in what appears to be altruistic behaviors – meaning they will dive into water after prey items missed by another individual rather than seeking their own. This suggests that they may be capable of complex social behaviors and communication among themselves.

In conclusion, the Royal Tern is an impressive seabird found along coastlines throughout much of the world. Their striking appearance and unique foraging behaviors are just a few reasons why they are such an interesting species deserving of recognition and protection in our natural habitats. Next time you’re near a beach or estuary keep your eyes peeled for these majestic birds soaring overhead!