Sterna maxima (Royal tern) 

Koningsterretjie [Afrikaans]; Koningsstern [Dutch]; Sterne royale [French]; Königsseeschwalbe [German]; Gaivina-real [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Charadriiformes > Family: Laridae > Genus: Sterna

Sterna maxima (Royal tern)   

Royal tern, Morro Bay, California, USA. [photo Michael "Mike" L. Baird, bairdphotos.com ©]

 

Distribution and habitat

Breeds on island and coasts across the tropical and sub-tropical oceans of the world, including the west coast of Africa, from Mauritania to Angola. It is a vagrant to southern Africa, with multiple records all at the same site in north-western Namibia - the Cunene River mouth, with another sighting at the central Namibian coast. It generally prefers shallow coastal waters and sheltered embayments.

Food 

Often forages along with other terns, hunting by plunge-diving from 5-10 metres above water, or alternatively snatching prey from the water surface.

References

  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 

  
 

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