Brown Noddy

Anous stolidus pileatus
Brown noddies

Brown noddies are medium sized, dark, brown birds. Adults have ashy-white forehead and crown sharply demarcated from black lores, merging evenly into gray nape. They have a long, narrow, wedged-shaped tail and legs and feet are brown. Their bill is black and stouter than the black noddy and they weigh twice as much as black noddies. Young noddies have a more restricted white cap on forehead than adults. Vocalizes at nest and in flight with low-pitched guttural calls.

Nesting occurs on Sand and Eastern Islands. The brown noddy breeds in tropical waters of Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. 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 and incubation shift lengths varies between geographical locations. Within the Hawaiian Islands lengths range between 14-30 hour shifts. Chicks reach adult weight in 18 days and 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.

Facts About Brown Noddy

Brown noddies primarily feed by plunge diving. They feed offshore over schools of large predatory fish that drive small fry to the surface. They feed mainly on small fish (i.e., goatfish, flying fish) and squid. Often feeds in mixed species flocks.
Life Span
25 years
Length: 40-45 cm (16-18 in); wingspan: 79-86 cm (31-34 in)