Brown Noddy

Anous stolidus pileatus
Brown Noddy 520x323

The brown noddy is a dark brown tern with a pale cap. It has a long narrowly wedge-shaped tail and brown legs and feet. The brown noddy is larger and approximately twice the weight of the black noddy. Young noddies have a more restricted white cap on forehead than adults. Vocalizes at nest and in flight with low-pitched guttural calls.

Brown noddies nest on both Wake and Wilkes Island. In 2007 it was estimated that there were 600 brown noddies nesting in the casuarina and several nesting on the ground on both Wilkes and Wake 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. Fidelity to nest site is high.

A single egg is laid in a nest built on the ground or in a tree. 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)