Galapagos Common Noddy Facts

Name: Common Noddy
Family: Sternidae
Scientific name: Anous stolidus
Length: 38 – 45 cm
Weight: 150 – 272 g
Wingspan: 75 - 86 cm (30 - 33.8 in)

Category: Sea Birds
Number of Species: 47
Endemic Species: 13

In total, 47 species of sea birds have been recorded in the Galapagos, 19 of which are resident to the Islands. The sea birds therefore account for nearly one third of all the species ever recorded in the islands and about the same proportion of the resident species.

Seabirds can be conveniently divided into 12 groups, as show in the table below. This shows the number of species recorded in each group and summarizes their status. If also shows the number of endemic species and the number of other species which are represented by endemic subspecies. Species are treated as migrants if they occur annually, vagrants being those recorded less frequently.

Category: Sea Birds
Family: Sternidae
Endemic Subspecies: Common Noddy

Six species of terns have been recorded in Galapagos: 2 residents and 4 vagrants. Terns are similar to gulls in many respects but are generally smaller, with narrower wings; thinner, straighter bills which lack the marked gonydeal angle; and shorter legs. Whilst terns are usually predominantly gray and white, the two species that breed in Galápagos are wholly dark brown (Common Noddy) and black and white (Sooty Tern). The sexes are alike. Terns feed by picking food from the surface of the water or by plunge-diving.

The Common Noddy is a common resident of Galapagos; endemic subspecies galapagensis. Population estimated to be a few thousand pairs. Breeds throughout the archipelago in small colonies on sea cliffs just above the tideline.

The Common Noddy is the only entirely dark tern, with typical pointed wings, and wedge-shaped tail. It is smaller and more elegant than the Lava Gull. ADULT: Dark brown overall, except for whitish-grey forehead and crown, and white eyelids. In flight shows pale wing bar on upper wing and dusky-gray centre to under wing. JUVENILE: Similar to adult, but lacks contrasting cap.

Usually silent, but occasionally emits a low guttural growl.

Behavior: Common Noddy's hover above the sea, often in large groups, sometimes accompanying Brown pelicans, which may be used as a perch! Generally flies low over the sea, picking food from the surface; does not plunge dive.

Galapagos Brown Noddy Tern