I was amazed how big and bright the Royal Tern’s beaks were. They sure were using their beaks very loudly. I guess they had a lot to say to the other Terns the day I was taking their photos. You can tell just by looking at their beaks what they will eat, and how it can kill their prey. Also, we need to remember they used their beaks for protection for whoever is planning to eat them. Their beaks are also used to care for their babies.
These birds, like many others like them, are called shore birds where you will find them waddling up and down the ocean coastline looking for food. You can find them along coasts, sandy beaches, bays, lagoons and rivers. In North American you will find them along the Atlantic Coasts, and are rarely found inland except in Florida. The Royal Tern is the second largest Tern, and it is quite easy to identify by its size and its very distinctive black crest, and beautiful bright orange bill. Males and females look alike. They have long, thin black legs and feet, and they sure can waddle very quickly on the beach. It is hard to catch up to any of them.
Like many shore birds they are ground breeders and scrape out a nest in the soil. They defecate directly on the rims of their nests which will harden and prevent it from being washed away if there are any floods. The female will lay one to two eggs, and it takes about a month to incubate them, which both parents help with that duty. The parents have to keep an eye on their nests because the Sand Crabs love to eat Tern eggs. These birds are diurnal which means they are active during the day. These Terns are very communicative and sociable and they congregate for testing in the same place making up a large group.
When they are searching for food they fly upward for a while and then hover in the air, looking carefully for prey on the waters surface. When they see a fish, they will dive very quickly into the water, and using their bill, will swoop their dinner into their mouth and fly away to eat it. They love to eat small species of fish, sand eels, and crayfish. I also see them using their bill in the sand digging to find small crabs hiding. When they do find something, they poke it out of the sad and eat it quickly.
I had a ball taking these photos of these Royal Terns yapping away to each other, and then finally they started yapping at me. I knew it was time to put my camera away, because their yapping bills were opening greater and louder toward me![the_ad id="61677"]