A Roseate Tern at Marathon, the Florida Keys
A Roseate Tern over Marathon, the Florida Keys
Photo credit: The wondrous world of Dave Irving
Tern sounds credit: birdediting?


The Endangered Birds of Florida



The Roseate Tern
Sterna dougallii


To begin: what is a Bird?

A Bird is a warm blooded, bipedal (two legs)

vertebrate (has a backbone) with feathers,

bills and wings and most can fly.

It lays eggs to reproduce and many theories have

it classified as a direct descendant of Dinosaurs,

dating back to the Jurassic period.

In Florida, this elegant Tropical bird is currently found in the

Middle to Lower Keys, from Marathon down to the Dry Tortugas.

Roseate with Decoy at Dry Tortugas
Roseate with Decoy in Dry Tortugas National Park
Photo credit: Sharyn Hood/FFWC


Like the Brown Pelican, the Roseate Tern dives dramatically, in a method

called plunge-diving, for its food which is primarily small fish.

It has also been known to steal food from other birds.


A breathtaking beauty in flight, the Roseate Tern has a 30 inch wingspan

and is just a bit similar to our Florida Swallow-Tailed Kite.

A Roseate Tern

A Roseate Tern in Flight
Photo credit: Mike Morel/FWS


At present, there are a total of 67 nests, this is called a colony,

 on the rooftop of the FWC Building in Marathon,

in the Florida Keys, where they are very closely watched.

See them in their new Rooftop home

Roseate Colony at the Dry Tortugas
Roseate Colony at the Dry Tortugas
Photo credit: Sharyn Hood/FFWC


There are about 300 pairs left in the State and

they only come ashore to nest, spending the rest

of their time in South America.


The Roseate Tern is Federally and State listed as Threatened.


See and hear the Roseate Tern in action:

You Tube Tern

More You Tube Tern


Places to learn more:


A photo comparison of NE and Florida R. Terns

Roseate Tern



Roseate Tern


Audubon Images

Roseate Tern


Best Ostrich Info Online

The Roseate Tern


Cornell Lab

Terns Find New Home


Dry Tortugas Blog

Nesting Set Up

Summertime At The Tortugas



Roseate Tern


Fox News

Terns Live On Rooftop



Caribbean Ecological Services

Habitat Model

Palometa 2010

Roseate Tern Florida


Great Florida Birding Trail

Roseate Tern


Key News

Rare Terns Flock to FWC to Nest



Roseate Tern


Oil Spill: Wildlife Crisis, a Diver in Danger

Roseate Tern


Southeastern Outdoors

If We Build It They Will Come


The Website of Everything

Roseate Terns



Fact Sheet

Roseate Tern

The Falkner Island Tern Project


Wilkes Honor College

Roseate Tern Images



Walking with the Alligators

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Last edited November 21, 2022

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