Species Index

Onychoprion fuscata
(Linnaeus, 1766)

Common Name: Sooty Tern

Distribution: The Sooty Tern ranges over tropical and sub-tropical seas and on associated islands and cays around Northern Australia, with sporadic sightings on coasts in south-west and south-east Australia. In NSW only known to breed at Lord Howe Island. Occasionally seen along coastal NSW, especially after cyclones.

Ecological Notes: The species forages at sea and mostly eats crustaceans, cephalopods and fish, which the are picked from just below the water surface. They often conjugate in large flocks.

Additional Notes: It rarely comes to land except to breed, and can stay out to sea for 3 to 10 years. Due to the lack oil in its feathers, it cannot float, and spends that entire time on the wing.

References: The complete guide to Australian Birds. George Adams. Penguin Random House Australia 2018. p 190.
Wikipedia. “Sooty Tern.” Last modified 23 July 2020.
NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. 2018. Sooty Tern – profile. Accessed 30 July 2020.…