Royal Turn

Royal Turn (Thalasseus maximus)
Royal Turn (Thalasseus maximus)
Royal Turn

Order : Charadriiformes
This is a diverse order which includes about 350 species of birds in all parts of the world. Most Chardriiformes are strong flyers, some species performing the most extensive migration of any birds. Most live near water and eat invertebrates or other similar small animals and most nest on the ground. the order is split into 3 main suborders; Charadrii (about 200 species including Sandpipers, Plovers and Lapwings ), Lari ( about 92 species including Gulls, Turns, Skimmers and Jaegers), and Alcidae ( about 21 species including Auks, Guillemots and Puffins)

Family : Gulls and Turns (Laridae)
The Laridae family compromises two distinct subfamilies Lari (Gulls) and Sterninae (Turns). Gulls account for over 40 species, and are heavily built web footed scavengers that take insects, molluscs, crustaceans, fish and garbage from beaches and shorelines, worms and grubs from fields, and some will even take eggs and chicks of other birds including their own. Turns account for about 40 species of slender water birds that often form large breeding colonies nesting on the ground on remote Islands sometimes numbering millions of individuals. Many Terns are long distance migrants covering thousands of kilometres in just a few days.

Name : Royal Turn (Thalasseus maximus)
Length : 45 - 50 cm ( 18 - 20 in )
Local Names : Sprat Bird, Gabby

The Royal Turn has two distinct races, Sterna maxima breeds on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of southern North America and Mexico, and throughout the West Indies. While Sterna albididorsalis breeds in coastal west Africa. The species nests in colonies on coasts and Islands the nest being a scrape on the ground where one or two eggs are laid. The male will offer the female fish as part of the courtship ritual. Like all white Turns it’s fiercely defensive of it’s nest and young. The Royal Turn’s diet consists of fish which it plunge dives to catch, usually diving directly as opposed to the ‘stepped hover’ preferred by the Arctic Turn. The Royal Turn is a large crested Turn with a heavy orange or yellow bill, grey upperparts and white underparts. It’s black cap turns grey in winter.


#Royal Turn Thalasseus maximus Gulls Turns Laridae Sterninae Sterna maxima Charadriiformes migrating birds seabirds Sea Birds birds birds of Tobago

Bird identification photos

Royal Turn (Thalasseus maximus) Birds of Tobago

Royal Turn (Thalasseus maximus) North American migrant birds