Sooty Tern

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Common Name: Sooty Tern

Scientific Name: Onychoprion fuscatus (formerly Sterna fuscata)

Size: 13-14 inches (33-36 cm)

Habitat: Pacific & Indian Oceans. This bird is migratory and dispersive, wintering more widely through the tropical oceans. It has very marine habits compared to most terns. This species is a rare vagrant to western Europe and is also not normally found on the Pacific coasts of the Americas due to its pelagic habits, however in Baja California several nesting locations have been found. It breeds normally on islands throughout the equatorial zone.

Status: Not threatened. Global Population: 21,000,000 - 22,000,000 mature individuals. The overall population trend is uncertain, as some populations are decreasing, while others are increasing or have unknown trends.

Diet: Small fish caught on the surface in marine environments, often in large flocks.

Nesting: It breeds in colonies on rocky or coral islands creating a nest in a ground scrape or hole. It lays one to three eggs.

Cool Facts: It is known as the "Wideawake Tern" or "Just Wideawake". This names refers to the non-stop calls produced by a colony of these birds, as does the Hawaiian name ʻewa ʻewa which roughly means "unpleasant noise". There are two subspecies of Sooty Terns; Onychoprion fuscatus fuscatus (Atlantic Sooty Tern, Underparts white. Breeds Atlantic and Caribbean) and Onychoprion fuscatus nubilosus (Indopacific Sooty Tern; Underparts light grey in fresh plumage, dull white in worn plumage. Breeds from Red Sea across Indian Ocean to at least central Pacific)

Sooty Terns rarely come to land except to breed, and can stay out to sea either by soaring or floating on the water for between 3 to 10 years.

Found in Songbird ReMix Freebies under "Seabirds"

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