Brown Noddy

Anous stolidus




Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Pink buff with dark red brown markings.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

35 - 38

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

Cacti and cedar bay bushes, about 12 feet above the ground.

Nest Material:

Nests, made of old tree branches and seaweed, are reused each year and become large as new materials are added each breeding season. Nests lined with shells and bits of coral.





Brown Noddy: Medium-sized tern with dark brown plumage, except for a white-gray forehead and crown blending to gray nape; small white lower half-eye ring. Tail and wingtips darker brown than body; the wedge-shaped tail has small notch at tip. Has black bill and dark gray legs. Sexes are similar, but males are significantly larger. Juvenile has lighter brown wings, brown forehead and nape, thin white forehead line. Year-old individuals have light streaks along wings. Races vary in color tone and size.

Range and Habitat

Brown Noddy: Found in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean. Breeds on tropical and subtropical inshore or oceanic islands, which have rocky cliffs and coral or sand beaches. During the non-breeding season, the Brown Noddy will spend most of its time at sea and may roost on water, rocks, islets, flotsam and even the backs of sea turtles.

Breeding and Nesting

Brown Noddy: These birds are monogamous. Their nest is made from old tree branches and seaweed and is built by both sexes. It is found in cacti and bay cedar bushes about 12 feet above the ground or on the ground. One pink-buff egg marked with dark reddish brown is laid. Incubation ranges from 35 to 38 days, and is carried out by both sexes. Fledgling occurs at about 30 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Brown Noddy: These noddies sometimes forage in small flocks. Fish and squid are taken from the sea surface or just below by dipping, which is catching prey while remaining airborne, or surface seizing, which is catching prey while sitting on the water. Once seized, the prey is swallowed and not carried away in their bill.


Brown Noddy: Standard calls include "karrk," "arrowk," and "eye-ak." During courtship flight, call is "nek nek nek nek nek nekrrr."

Similar Species

Brown Noddy: Black Noddy is smaller and darker. Sooty Tern has white underparts.

The crown is the top part of the birds head.
Eye ringX
The circle around the eye formed of feathers that are a different color from the rest of the face.
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X