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Caspian or Royal Tern? Jacksonville, Fl (1 Viewer)

Newton-W

Well-known member
Caspian or Royal Tern? Jacksonville, Fl. EDITED to Add More Photos

This was taken in May, 2019 in Jacksonville, Fl. USA. I'm starting to wonder if I have it misidentified. Is it a Caspian or Royal Tern. It was photographed over a fresh water lake, if that makes any difference.
Thanks in advance.

Newton

Please note that I have added photos to show some underwing shots, and different views. Although the lighting changes through this series, they are the same bird and all taken within minutes/seconds of each other as it flew around a small lake. RoyalTern-001f.jpg
Thanks to all who commented.
 

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Last edited:

Larry Sweetland

Formerly 'Larry Wheatland'
I keep looking at this pic and thinking Royal. I could be wrong, but May might be the short window when they have a full black cap and a deeper orange bill, and the bill looks a bit slender for Caspian to me. Happy to be wrong, but I'd welcome further opinion.
 

Larry Sweetland

Formerly 'Larry Wheatland'
I keep looking at this pic and thinking Royal. I could be wrong, but May might be the short window when they have a full black cap and a deeper orange bill, and the bill looks a bit slender for Caspian to me. Happy to be wrong, but I'd welcome further opinion. Pics of the underwing would help too.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
I keep looking at this pic and thinking Royal. I could be wrong, but May might be the short window when they have a full black cap and a deeper orange bill, and the bill looks a bit slender for Caspian to me. Happy to be wrong, but I'd welcome further opinion. Pics of the underwing would help too.

Ditto, my instant reaction was Royal.
 

rkj

Well-known member
Do Florida Royal Terns have much longer bills than those in California? This looks well outside the range I am used to seeing on the west coast.
 

rollingthunder

Well-known member
Agreed it looks ‘Orangey’ - i saw thousands of Caspians (in addition to a few West African Royals) down at Dhakla and there was quite a range of subtle tones in the winter-plumaged Caspo’s bills...

Laurie:t:
 

Newton-W

Well-known member
Ditto to Royal with the new pics - shows nicely the value of posting a series of pics rather than just one :t:

Nutcracker, you are correct (as usual), I should have posted the series. Admittedly, the original shot was "artistic" and I was called out on that shot by someone on a local Florida bird forum. I had posted a series of BIF, single shots of each, so one look was all I presented. Many thanks to you. :clap:
 

Newton-W

Well-known member
Thanks to everyone who participated in my posting. I could have made it a lot easier if I had posted more images. But, it was late, blah blah blah, etc., and oh ya, the dog ate my homework.

I love this Forum!
 

Newton-W

Well-known member
Do Florida Royal Terns have much longer bills than those in California? This looks well outside the range I am used to seeing on the west coast.

I'm not sure, rkj. I've attached a shot that was taken 4 months before the OP shots, but on the beach, some 20 miles east. Lots of terns that day and it was tough for me, being a non-birder, to sort them out, LOL.

I hope this helps,

Newton
 

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rollingthunder

Well-known member
Yes Simon - i do now think it a Royal, i have very limited experience and even then not Yank ones, i merely pointed out issues with bill colouration and size of the driller initially:t:

Laurie -
 

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