noddy

noddy, tropical tern including five species in the genus Anous. The name noddy is said to derive from their easy familiarity with man. Noddies are web-footed seabirds with long wings (though shorter than those of most terns) and pointed, tapering bills. They are highly gregarious, especially during the breeding season. Of the five species, two are nearly all black in plumage ( A. stolidus and A. galapagoensis ) and one is white. The dark-plumaged noddy tern ( A. stolidus ) is the most common of all noddies. It is found throughout the S Atlantic. It does not dive for food as do most terns but rather feeds on surface-dwelling animals. It typically nests on bushes or low trees but will also build its twig nest on seaweed or even bare ground. It lays a single egg per clutch. The white fairy tern ( A. albus ) is distributed more widely throughout tropical seas. It lays its single egg on a tree branch or rock ledge, to which the newly hatched young clings by its remarkably powerful claws. A. albivittus and A. leucocapillus are the two intermediately colored species. Noddies are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Charadriiformes, family Laridae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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