Brown Noddy

Brown Noddy

Anous stolidus

Pictures: Teus Luijendijk

Our visit to St. Helena gave us excellent opportunities to study Brown and Black Noddies alongside. From the seabird books and identification guides I studied before setting off on this trip, I had the impression that these two species could be very difficult to separate. In fact, it turned out to be much less trouble than I thought.
Brown Noddy is not only quite obviously brown, it is also substantially larger and this can easily been seen in flight. Its wingbeats are powerful and deliberate, the wings are fairly broad, the tail is quite long and there is always a paler area visible on the mid-wing (see last picture). All in all, Brown Noddy is somewhat reminiscent of a dwarfed Brown Booby.
Black Noddy, however, is not only - as the name suggests - quite black, it is also smaller, flies with a higher wingbeat frequency, has narrower wings without any paler panel and shows a shorter tail. Besides, in contrast to Brown Noddy, the white cap stands out much more and is often crystal clear in flight, even at a distance.

   Brown Noddy  Anous stolidus ;  videograbs (20x).
   St. Helena, 8 April 2002.


Copyright ©Teus Luijendijk 2003