Family Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Least Concern

Brown Noddy (Anous stolidus)


French: Noddi brun German: Noddi Spanish: Tiñosa boba
Other common names: Common Noddy

Sterna stolida


, 1758,

Jamaica, West Indies


Race plumbeigularis tentatively recognized, but possibly inseparable from pileatus and often subsumed within it. Racial separation of Madagascar population not warranted. Birds from Desventuradas Is (Chile) may represent an undescribed race. Five subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. s. plumbeigularis Sharpe, 1879 – S Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.
  • A. s. pileatus (Scopoli, 1786) – Seychelles and Madagascar E to N Australia, Polynesia, Hawaii, and Easter I, and possibly this race in Desventuradas Is (off N Chile).
  • A. s. galapagensis Sharpe, 1879 – Galapagos Is.
  • A. s. ridgwayi Anthony, 1898 – islands off W Mexico (including Socorro I, Tres Marías and Isabela, off Nayarit) and W Central America (including Cocos I).
  • A. s. stolidus (Linnaeus, 1758) – islands of Caribbean and S Atlantic (including Trindade, Ascension, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha, Inaccessible), and off W Africa (Gulf of Guinea to Cameroon).
  • Descriptive notes

    38–45 cm; 150–272 g (mean 173 g Pacific, 186 g West Indies); wingspan 75–86 cm. Dark chocolate-brown noddy, with pale grey crown, sometimes almost white on... read more


    Generally silent except around colonies, where gives varied guttural barks and a braying "keh-eh-eh... read more


    Pantropical and subtropical islands, often with small populations dispersed throughout many inshore... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small fish and squid. At Kiritimati (Christmas I, Pacific), about half of food in volume was fish (7–16 cm), mainly Exocoetidae and... read more


    Nests all months in Galapagos, but fewest eggs Aug–Oct; may breed at less than annual intervals (Galápagos, Ascension);... read more


    Poorly known. Disperses out to sea after breeding. Those nesting in temperate latitudes tend to be... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Breeds in innumerable small to medium-sized colonies, few of which exceed 1000 pairs. The global population is not precisely known... read more

    Recommended citation

    Gochfeld, M., Burger, J., Kirwan, G.M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Brown Noddy (Anous stolidus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 26 February 2020).