Family Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Least Concern

Lesser Noddy (Anous tenuirostris)


French: Noddi marianne German: Schlankschnabelnoddi Spanish: Tiñosa picofina

Sterna tenuirostris


, 1823,

Senegal; error = Seychelles


Closely related to A. minutus, with which formerly considered conspecific. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. t. tenuirostris (Temminck, 1823) – Seychelles, Mascarene Is and St Brandon (N of Mauritius)#R, Maldives and Chagos#R, with possible breeding attempts made also in Somalia; non-breeders visit Arabia, Madagascar and the Tanzanian coast, and, rarely, Sri Lanka and Bay of Bengal.
  • A. t. melanops Gould, 1846 – Houtman Abrolhos Is and, probably this subspecies, Ashmore Reef (off Western Australia); formerly also Indonesia.
  • Descriptive notes

    30–34 cm; 97–120 g; wingspan 58–63 cm. Blackish brown, with whitish forehead and crown blending into more ashy grey hindcrown and nape; lores whitish; sides... read more


    Nesting birds produce a grating “arrrk arrrk” repeatedly; also a lower pitched “ugugug”. Also a... read more


    Pelagic when not breeding. Nests on oceanic islets.

    Food and feeding

    Small fish and invertebrates. Feeds by hovering and aerial- or contact-dipping but does not plunge-dive. Feeds in flocks and often... read more


    Breeds in large colonies that may number tens of thousands of pairs. The timing of nesting varies between colonies. Race tenuirostris... read more


    No regular movements have been reported but the nominate race occurs fairly regularly outside... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Breeds at a limited number of colonies. The nominate race, from the central and western Indian Ocean, is estimated at 1,200,000... read more

    Recommended citation

    Gochfeld, M., Burger, J. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Lesser Noddy (Anous tenuirostris). 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 22 February 2020).