The roseate tern is a beautiful, medium-sized bird that has a threatened status in Canada and in the Caribbean.

The roseate tern is a beautiful, medium-sized bird that has a threatened status in Canada and in the Caribbean.

In the United States, the roseate is in the endangered bird category.

It is closely related to the arctic tern and the common tern and is sometimes difficult to identify. However, the tail feathers of a roseate are very distinctive. When in flight, their tails have deeply forked outer feathers that appear as long streamers. When the roseate is standing, its tail feathers stick straight out behind him and are longer than those of his relatives, the common tern and the arctic tern.

Like most terns, the roseate has a slender body and short legs. The roseate tern's head is white with a black cap. He has a black bill, black eyes, and white wings, with dark areas on the outermost part of the wing. This species of tern is about 13 to 16 inches long and weighs in at about 3.18 to 4.94 ounces (about the size of a sea gull). The roseate tern has a distinctive sound. Its Thier call has two syllables and sounds like kir-rick.ed- During the nesting period, the black bill will turn red at the base. The legs will turn from all black to a rhas orange color. The roseate breeds in various areas around the globe. Primarily a tropical bird, it can be found breeding along the Atlantic Coast from Nova Scotia to New York and in the Keys of Florida. They've also been seen in Europe, the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean, the western Pacific Ocean and Australia. They build their nests along rocky offshore islands, salt marsh islands and barrier beaches. The nests are simply a scrape in an area with rubble or sand and hidden under grasses, plants, debris or large boulders.

They will lay a clutch of eggs (usually one or two) by the end of May. The parents take turns incubating the eggs. Once the chicks hatch, somewhere between 23 or 24 days, they remain in the nest under the watchful eye of their parents. Sometimes the second chick will die, since the parents have to fly long distances to locate food. The chicks will fledge 28 days after they hatch, leave the colony with their parents and finally learn to fish on their own by about seven weeks of age.

Roseate terns are diving birds. They obtain their food by plunging into the water in a high dive and retrieve small fish, such as Pollock, haddock, cod, mackerel, white hake, sand lance, and gadoids. They can actually immerse themselves completely under the water and then fly under water in pursuit of their prey, much like a penguin. They'll also indulge in small invertebrates from time to time.

Chemical and oil spills, commercial fishing, hunters, and natural predators can affect this bird species. In order for roseate to avoid becoming extinct birds, it is critical that their nesting areas be protected. The nesting areas of the common tern and the arctic tern also need to be protected, as the roseate tern will often nest with them. It is also increasingly important that other bird species, like crows and gulls, be discouraged from nesting in the same areas as the roseate terns.


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