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Terns in Myrtle Beach

Sandwich Terns – Adult with juvenile

By: Pat Coate

Don’t see too many terns in my part of Western NY, so I enjoyed seeing a couple species while in Myrtle Beach. Both were life birds for me.

Sandwich Terns – Adult with juvenile

The adult sandwich tern has a distinctive black bill with a yellow tip. It is in winter or non-breeding plumage. In breeding plumage the forehead area (between bill and crest) would be black.

The juvenile lacks the yellow tip on the bill and was aggressively begging from the adult tern, to no avail I might add.

Royal Tern

The royal tern has a distinctive solid orange bill. This adult bird is also in winter plumage. Per the Peterson Field Guide, royal and sandwich terns are often seen together.

Note that this bird appears to be banded.

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