Brown Noddy (Anous stolidus)

Brown Noddy


The brown noddy or common noddy (Anous stolidus) is a seabird in the family Laridae. The largest of the noddies, it can be told from the closely related black noddy by its larger size and plumage, which is dark brown rather than black. The brown noddy is a tropical seabird with a worldwide distribution, ranging from Hawaii to the Tuamotu Archipelago and Australia in the Pacific Ocean, from the Red Sea to the Seychelles and Australia in the Indian Ocean and in the Caribbean to Tristan da Cunha in the Atlantic Ocean. The brown noddy is colonial, usually nesting on elevated situations on cliffs or in short trees or shrubs. It only occasionally nests on the ground. A single egg is laid by the female of a pair each breeding season. In India, the brown noddy is protected in the PM Sayeed Marine Birds Conservation Reserve. The brown noddy is 38–45 cm (15–18 in) in length with a wingspan of 75–86 cm (30–34 in). The plumage is a dark chocolate-brown with a pale-grey or white crown and forehead. It has a narrow incomplete white eye-ring. The tail is long and wedge-shaped, and the feet and legs are dark.

Distribution And Habitat

The Brown Noddy occurs through the tropical and subtropical oceans of the world (Raffaele and others 1998). It is a resident seabird in Puerto Rico (Raffaele 1989a) and breeds colonially on the islands of Mona, Monito, and Culebra, and islets of the Cordillera Natural Reserve (Oberle 2018), as well as Desecheo (Biaggi 1997). It is considered unconfirmed on Vieques (Gemmill 2015). The species is seldom seen near land, is highly pelagic (Chardine and others 2020), and mostly occurs around isolated, bare or vegetated islets and offshore cays where it breeds (Oberle 2018, Raffaele and others 1998). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of 35 records within 23 hexagons or 5 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the 23 hexagons where this species was found, breeding met the atlas definition of confirmed in 22 percent (5) of the hexagons and possible in 13 percent (3), while the species was observed in 65 percent (15) of the hexagons but without evidence of breeding (see map). Brown Noddy distribution. The map shows the highest breeding code by hexagon and overlaying the ecological life zones in Puerto Rico. Note: percentages may not total 100 due to rounding. 115Brown Noddy/Cervera Parda

Brown Noddy Distribution

Breeding Habits

The Brown Noddy nests in colonies and constructs a simple layer of debris or of seaweed and sticks in fl at shingle beaches, bare ground, cliff ledges, offshore stacks, low bushes, and tall trees (BirdLife International 2018). Previously published reports indicate that this species breeds from April to July (Raffaele and others 1998). Atlas results indicate that the breeding activity for this species peaks in June and July (see chart). Results show that this species only nests within the subtropical dry forest life zone (100 percent of the hexagons) (see table and map).


Population trends for the Brown Noddy across its distribution range are unknown. Since the Brown Noddy is relatively common, it is listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN (BirdLife International 2018), while locally this species is listed as Data Deficient (PRDNER 2015). Locally, this species is not listed in any of the threatened categories of PRDNER and USFWS. In Puerto Rico, the Brown Noddy has a protected habitat in land of 6 percent or 11 km2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where evidence of breeding was found for this species (191 km2).