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Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus

Sections

Breeding

It nests in dense colonies. The courtship and copulation are simultaneously. This species is very aggressive during the breeding season. Both parents incubate the eggs even, remain in the nest several continuous days, shifting and change is done mostly at night. The care of the chicks is by both parents.

The breeding season occurs from February to March in Florida, although there are other locations where it breeds throughout the year. They have one brood per year but can replace the eggs. Breed in tropical and subtropical rocky islands around the world, coral reefs and artificial islands. Some nesting colonies are in the western coast of Mexico, the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific and Belize, Honduras and Venezuela in the Caribbean. Prefer flat sites, open, sandy or coral, and with vegetation. They build their nest scraping the soil and forming a hole, putting leaves or rocks on the edge. The clutch size is 2 to 3 eggs, sub-elliptical, smooth and dull, white, pink or buff, with abundant fine brown-red marks; measures 50 x 35 mm. Incubation lasts 28 to 31 days. The semi-precocial chicks are born covered with pale gray down and dark gray on back, and white down on belly. Juveniles fly until 55 - 60 days age, and stay with their parents at least 3 weeks more.

Recommended Citation

Sooty Tern (Onychoprion fuscatus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/sooter1