Grey-backed Tern, Onychoprion lunatus


Nesting Grey-backed Tern Noddies are members of the tern family Sternidae in the genera Anous, Procelsterna, and Gygis.

Studies of mtDNA sequences (Bridge, 2005) have shown that the noddies are at least 2 groups that split off early from the ancestral terns at different points of time; the relationships of Procelsterna were not researched for lack of samples. It seems to represent either a third lineage linking the noddies and the marsh terns, or is closely related to Gygis.



They are a tropical group, characterised by the notch-wedge shaped (not forked) tail; coastal and pelagic oceanic.



Genus Anous

Black Noddy or White-capped Noddy (Anous minutus) on nest


Genus Procelsterna

White TernGenus Gygis

Noddies are reportedly a dietary staple on the island of Nauru.



  • Bridge, E. S.; Jones, A. W. and Baker, A. J. (2005): A phylogenetic framework for the terns (Sternini) inferred from mtDNA sequences: implications for taxonomy and plumage evolution. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 35: 459–469.
  • Harrison, C.S. (1990): Seabirds of Hawaii, Natural History and Conservation. Comstock: Cornell ISBN 0-8014-2449-6


Copyright: Wikipedia. This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from Wikipedia.orgAdditional information and photos added by Avianweb.

Lesser Noddy (Anous tenuirostris)

Brown Noddy


Please Note: The articles or images on this page are the sole property of the authors or photographers. Please contact them directly with respect to any copyright or licensing questions. Thank you.