Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Zeiss - Always on the lookout for something special – Shop now

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Personal tools
Main Categories

Sooty Tern

From Opus

Photo by stevebbSouth Atlantic, June 2016
Photo by stevebb
South Atlantic, June 2016
Onychoprion fuscatus

Sterna fuscata


[edit] Identification

36–45 cm (14¼-17¾ in)

  • Dark grey upperparts
  • White underparts
  • Long, forked tail
  • Long wings
  • Black legs and bill

Juveniles have scaly grey plumage

[edit] Similar Species

Bridled Tern differs in having upper back contrastingly paler than rear head. Notice that Sooty Tern becomes more Bridled Tern-like in winter.

[edit] Distribution

Photo by The BosunMichaelmas Cay, Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, Queensland, Australia, June 2012
Photo by The Bosun
Michaelmas Cay, Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, Queensland, Australia, June 2012

Tropical (and sometimes subtropical) oceans all around the globe.

[edit] Taxonomy

Sooty Tern, Bridled Tern, Grey-backed Tern and Aleutian Tern are each others closest relatives; all four were previously included in the genus Sterna.

[edit] Subspecies

Eight subspecies are recognized[1]:

  • O. f. fuscatus:
  • O. f. nubilosus:
  • Southern Red Sea and Indian Ocean to Ryukyu Island and Philippines
  • O. f. infuscatus:
  • O. f. serratus:
  • O. f. kermadeci:
  • Kermadec Islands
  • O. f. oahuensis:
  • Bonin Islands to Hawaii and South Pacific islands
  • O. f. crissalis:
  • O. f. luctuosus:
  • Juan Fernández Islands (off Chile)

[edit] Habitat

Open sea, but they breed in colonies on rocky or coral islands. They are rarely seen on land, apart from when breeding.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Breeding

The nest is a ground scrape or hole. The clutch consists of 1-3 eggs.

[edit] Diet

It feeds by picking fish from the sea surface. Their diet consists mainly of fish, squid and crustaceans, with insects and offal taken on occasion.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved August 2017)
  3. Wikipedia

[edit] External Links


Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.25260711 seconds with 6 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 22:03.