Kiritimati: Black, Brown, & Blue Noddies

There are three noddy species that can be found in Kiritimati – black noddies, brown noddies, and blue noddies – all actually nesting together in Motu Tapu islet. All three species are seabirds belonging to the tern family Sternidae. Black Noddy (Anous minutus) is the largest and have black or dark brown all over their bodies with white caps on their heads and pale bills. They nest on tree branches, creating platforms for the nests. Brown Noddy (Anous stolidus) is slightly smaller and lighter in appearance, they have brown plumage on their backs and wings, with a white underside. Unlike the black noddies, brown noddies lay eggs on the ground and nest down on the floor. Finally, Blue Noddy (Procelsterna cerulea) is the smallest and also the rarest of the tree, with pale blue-gray plumage on their backs and wings and white underparts and a distinctive black cap. All three species feed at sea on small fish and squid, but while black and brown bodies do vertical dives, the blue noddies slide and skim along the water surface.