This bird is a much smaller bird than the Royal Tern (similar in size to a Sandwich Tern) and has a thinner bill that sometimes appears to droop slightly towards the tip.and a more extensive black cap than that of a non-breeding Royal Tern. The black on the face of the Elegant Tern almost surrounds the eye, unlike a non-breeding Royal Tern. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Elegant Tern is usually found along the west coast of North America, with most of the breeding population restricted to the Gulf of California and Mexico. According to the TOS Handbook of Texas Birds (Lockwood & Freeman, 2nd Ed., 2014), the Elegant Tern is accidental in Texas. "There are three documented records of this species in Texas (as of 2014), involving two adult-types and one probable first winter. The first was collected by Frank Armstrong in 1889 at Corpus Christi, Nueces County..." Perusal of the eBird records for the Elegant Tern in Texas reveals records in Galveston County in 2001 (Nov.), 2013 (Sept.), and 2014 (Nov.) and in Kleberg County (late July, 2017.) The Elegant Tern at Surfside Jetty in this checklist appears to be an adult. Many thanks to Arman Moreno for finding and reporting this bird, which is extremely uncommon in Texas.
- Original file size
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