After seeing several of my Florida friends posting images of courting Royals Terns recently because it is that time of year I decided to dig into my archives and retrieve some of my own photos of Royal Terns courting at Fort De Soto to share today.
Male Royal Terns usually bring a small fish as a gift for the females when they are courting. This male had flown in and was keeping an eye on the female when I photographed him with his crest erect.
Sometimes the male and female Royal Terns walk side by side through the flock as if they were in a parade.
Usually there is a lot of posturing by both sexes when courting on the ground and the males may circle the females.
Or the males might strut in front of the females and the rest of the flock while nodding their heads and calling.
The “Circling” courtship behavior of Royal Terns was one that I found interesting because as the male circled the female she moved too and kept her sides facing him. I don’t recall ever photographing the Royal Terns mating on the beach but it is possible that I did and have just forgotten it and I didn’t have time this morning to go through all of my images.
I do not see Royal Terns in Utah and I miss them.
Life is good.
These images were taken in 2008 and 2009