Galapagos Sooty Tern Facts

  • Scientific Name:
    Sterna fuscata
  • Family:
    Sternidae
  • Length:
    38 - 45 cm (15 - 17.7 in)
  • Wingspan:
    86 - 94 cm (34 - 37 in)
Galapagos Sooty Tern

The Sooty Tern is a resident of the archipelago; breeding only on Darwin Island, where ir is present in very large numbers. This bird is seen only infrequently elsewhere in Galapagos and thus we are not very likely to see it on a Galapagos cruise.

Identification:

Unmistakable; the Sooty Tern is the only tern with contrasting black and white plumage. ADULT: Upper parts entirely black apart from white triangle on forehead; under parts white. In flight shows white outer tail-streamers. JUVENILE: Mostly sooty-brown, finely spotted white above, dusky below with paler belly.

Voice:

Noisy, with loud "ker-wacky-wack" call at breeding colony.

Behavior:

Very buoyant flight. Often seen feeding in large flocks, snatching food from the surface of the sea; does not plunge dive.

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