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10

Sooty Tern

(Onychoprion [Sterna] fuscata)
Alternate name(s): "Wideawake Tern", "Egg-bird"
Size: 33-36 cm; wing span 82-94 cm

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Sooty Tern at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "serrata"

ADULT

Close-up lateral view of a Sooty Tern (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Lady Elliot Island, near Agnes Water, QLD, January 2016]

Lateral view of a Sooty Tern on the ground (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Near Ned's Beach, Lord Howe Island, November 2014]

Lateral view of a Sooty Tern in flight, with a view of the bird's underwing pattern (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Near Ned's Beach, Lord Howe Island, November 2014]

Lateral view of a Sooty Tern in flight, with a view of the bird's upperwing pattern (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Near Ned's Beach, Lord Howe Island, November 2014]

Two Sooty Terns in flight (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Near Ned's Beach, Lord Howe Island, November 2014]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Close-up lateral view of a juvenile Sooty Tern (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Lady Elliot Island, near Agnes Water, QLD, January 2016]

Sooty Terns with a juvenile (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Lady Elliot Island, near Agnes Water, QLD, January 2016]

Sooty Terns with a juvenile (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Lady Elliot Island, near Agnes Water, QLD, January 2016]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Jan - Dec Eggs: 1 ( - 3) Incubation period: 26-28 days Fledging age: ?

Sooty Terns can, depending on location and conditions, in principle breed any time of the year. In the tropics the core breeding period is around April-July, in the subtropical and temperate regions about September-November.

Nest building: ? Incubation: Female & male Dependent care: Female & male

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Scrape Material: Sand, rock pebbles Height above ground: N/A

Sooty Terns nest in huge colonies. Their nests are just shallow hollows in sand, without any lining (except possibly pre-existing fine grass from tufts into which the nest is built).

Sooty Tern nest with one egg in it (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Blinky Beach, Lord Howe Island, November 2014]

Adult Sooty Tern with its chick (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Near Ned's Beach, Lord Howe Island, November 2014]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 52 x 36 mm Colour: Creamy, with varying degrees of dark-brown speckling Shape: Tapered oval

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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