|Royal Tern Thalasseus maxima
(aka Sterna maximus)
|The Royal Tern is distributed along the Atlantic coast of
Africa and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North and South America. See the distribution map at Birdlife International. Breeding is mainly in the northern
hemisphere but there is a breeding population in south Brazil where the first two photos were taken, Uruguay and northern Patagonia.
It breeds in very large colonies on beaches and islands with no vegetation.
|In breeding plumage, as seen in the first 2 photos, it has
a black crown with long feathers at the nape forming a type of crest, a bright orange bill and has black legs.
Non-breeding plumage is seen in the 3rd and 4th photos taken in Cuba in February. The forehead is white, the crown is white with black streaks and the nape is black and this extends almost to the eye.
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