Sooty Tern (species: Onychoprion fuscatus) in Birds of Flores (Gaia Guide)
Onychoprion fuscatus
Sooty Tern

©Duncan Wright: Sooty Tern (Onychoprion fuscatus)

©Peter Steward: Sooty Tern (Onychoprion fuscatus)

©Drew Avery: Sooty Tern (Onychoprion fuscatus) chick
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Charadriiformes
Family Laridae
Genus Onychoprion
Species Onychoprion fuscatus
Status least concern



Distinguishing features

The wings and deeply forked tail are long, and it has dark black upperparts and white underparts. It has black legs and bill. Juvenile Sooty Terns are scaly grey above and below. (Wikipedia)


  • From 40 cm to 46 cm (Length of specimen)


  • From 82 cm to 94 cm


Similar taxa


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

It is a bird of the tropical oceans, breeding on islands throughout the equatorial zone. (Wikipedia)


It feeds by picking fish from the surface in marine environments, often in large flocks, and rarely comes to land except to breed, and can stay out to sea (either soaring or floating on the water) for 3 to 10 years. (Wikipedia)

Web resources


  • Simpson, K., N. Day and P. Trusler (2004). Field Guide to Birds of Australia: 7th Edition Penguin Group (Australia), Camberwell, Victoria.
  • Smith, G.C. (1987). The birds of Eagle Island, a tropical sand cay on the northern Great Barrier Reef, Australia, The Sunbird, 17(1): 1-11. LIRS catalog number 245.