Birds of Midway Atoll
Brown Noddy / Anous stolidus pileatus
In 1984, about 1,000 pairs nested on Sand and Eastern Island. The brown noddy breeds in tropical waters of Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans.
Low-pitched guttural calls. Vocalizes at nest and in flight.
Primarily feed by plunge diving. Feed offshore over schools of large predatory fish that drive small fry to surface. Feeds mainly on small fish (i.e., goatfish, flying fish) and squid. Often feeds in mixed species flocks.
Limited information is available on age at first breeding, but it ranges from 3-6 years. Mates display characteristic "nodding" to one another. Courtship feeding is performed by the female begging from the male. The male may courtship feed the female several times a day. "Fish flights" occur, in which one bird transfers a fish to its partner.
A single egg is laid in a nest built on the ground or in a tree. On Midway, they have adapted to nesting in ironwood trees (Casuarina equisetfolia), naupaka (Scaevola sericea), and on the ground. Fidelity to nest site is high.
Incubation length ranges between 33-36 days. Both parents incubate. Incubation shift lengths varies between geographical locations. Within the Hawaiian Islands lengths range between 14-30 hour shifts. Fledging occurs between 40-56 days after hatching (Kure Atoll). Chicks reach adult weight in 18 days. Most chicks outweigh parents in six weeks. Chicks are capable of short flights before reaching full wing development, and will flee if alarmed. Post-fledging feeding continues for several weeks.