Happy Fish 🐟 Fry Friday!! The barrier island of Floridas Gulf Coast is a vital area for offshore colonies of many shorebirds during breeding season. Officially the season begins May 1st, I was very happy to observe a very strong presence if so many beautiful birds!! TGIF my friends from me and this beautiful Royal Tern!
🐧 Royal terns eat small fish, shrimp and crustaceans. They catch them by flying over the water with the bills pointed down and then plunge into the water.
🐧 Royal terns are mostly white, with a pale gray back and upper wings. They have a black mask that extends around the back of their heads to form a spiky crest behind their heads. Some royal terns might have a completely black cap, but only during the breeding season.
🐧Males and females look alike, and while juveniles look similar to adults, they are smaller and pale yellow. They have darker wingtips and dark spots on their backs. It takes them three years to get their full adult plumage.
🐧 The breeding season begins in May. Courtship involves high spiraling flights by two or more birds. Royal terns are ground breeders and dig out nests in the soil or sand. They nest in colonies, ranging from 100 to 4,000 breeding pairs.
🐧 Royal terns generally have only one egg, but sometimes two. Young terns leave the nest within a day after hatching. All young chicks come together in a group known as a crache, which can have thousands of terns that range in age from two to 35 days old. Despite this large group, a pair of terns will only feed their own young