Onychoprion fuscatus - (Linnaeus, 1766)
Sooty Tern
Other Common Names: Trinta-Réis-Marinho
Synonym(s): Sterna fuscata Linnaeus, 1766
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Sterna fuscata Linnaeus, 1766 (TSN 176894)
French Common Names: Sterne fuligineuse
Spanish Common Names: Charrán Sombrío, Gaviotín Apizarrado
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.101718
Element Code: ABNNM08150
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Other Birds
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Charadriiformes Laridae Onychoprion
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Sterna fuscata
Taxonomic Comments: Formerly (AOU 1983, 1998) included in the genus Sterna but separated on the basis of genetic data that correspond to plumage patterns (Bridge et al. 2005).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 27Nov1996
Global Status Last Changed: 27Nov1996
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: NNR

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (SNRN), Florida (S1), Hawaii (SNR), Louisiana (S1B), North Carolina (SHB,S3N), South Carolina (SNRN), Texas (S2B)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: BREEDS: islands of tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. In the New World, regularly as far north as the Dry Tortugas off Florida; irregularly and in small numbers on islands along Gulf Coast of Texas, the Chandeleur islands of Louisiana, possibly once in Tampa Bay (Florida), and twice in North Carolina (Spendelow and Patton 1988); also on islands off Yucatan Peninsula and Belize, probably Honduras, and northern coast of Venezuela, Trinidad, Tobago, and Brazil; breeds widely in Bahamas (Sprunt 1984) and Antilles, including Puerto Rico (Mona, Monito, Culebra and vicinity, La Cordillera), and the Virgin Islands; in eastern Pacific on islands off Nayarit (Mexico), off Panama, in northwestern Galapagos Islands, and on San Felix Island off Chile; and Hawaii (Kure to Moku Manu and Manana). RANGES widely at sea in warm oceans (Spendelow and Patton 1988). Terns banded as chicks at Dry Tortugas have been recovered, probably breeding, on Isla Culebra, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Morant Cays (Haynes 1987).

Population Size: 100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: The most abundant seabird in the tropical Pacific. Breeding population on Bush Key in Dry Tortugas was estimated at 80,000 in the late 1970s; not more than 100 in breeding colony on Chandeleur Islands (Louisiana); about 50 birds breeding in Texas in the early 1980s (Spendelow and Patton 1988). Most abundant breeding seabird in the Caribbean (van Halewyn and Norton 1984, Fairbairn and Haynes 1982, Haynes 1987).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: In the Caribbean region, large-scale egg collecting is a threat (van Halewyn and Norton 1984, Fairbairn and Haynes 1982, Haynes 1987). Cats are a threat in Chile (Schlatter 1984).

Short-term Trend Comments: In the Caribbean region, possibly the population has declined over recent decades (van Halewyn and Norton 1984, Fairbairn and Haynes 1982, Haynes 1987). Common but declining in Chile (Schlatter 1984). Most Hawaiian populations seem fairly stable (Harrison et al. 1984).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDS: islands of tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. In the New World, regularly as far north as the Dry Tortugas off Florida; irregularly and in small numbers on islands along Gulf Coast of Texas, the Chandeleur islands of Louisiana, possibly once in Tampa Bay (Florida), and twice in North Carolina (Spendelow and Patton 1988); also on islands off Yucatan Peninsula and Belize, probably Honduras, and northern coast of Venezuela, Trinidad, Tobago, and Brazil; breeds widely in Bahamas (Sprunt 1984) and Antilles, including Puerto Rico (Mona, Monito, Culebra and vicinity, La Cordillera), and the Virgin Islands; in eastern Pacific on islands off Nayarit (Mexico), off Panama, in northwestern Galapagos Islands, and on San Felix Island off Chile; and Hawaii (Kure to Moku Manu and Manana). RANGES widely at sea in warm oceans (Spendelow and Patton 1988). Terns banded as chicks at Dry Tortugas have been recovered, probably breeding, on Isla Culebra, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Morant Cays (Haynes 1987).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, FL, HI, LA, NC, SC, TX

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
FL Monroe (12087)
LA Plaquemines (22075)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Florida Bay-Florida Keys (03090203)+
08 Eastern Louisiana Coastal (08090203)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Help
Reproduction Comments: Eggs are laid during April-June in Florida and Puerto Rico; variable in Hawaii. Clutch size usually is 1. Incubation lasts about 1 month (28-29 days in Hawaii), by both sexes in turn for up to several days. Young are tended by both parents; fledge in 1.5-2 months. Some colonies exceed 1 million.
Ecology Comments: Highly gregarious; often in large flocks at sea. Young may incur heavy predation from frigatebirds in Pacific. Storms may cause heavy loss of eggs in some areas (Berger 1981).
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Marine Habitat(s): Near shore, Pelagic
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cliff, Sand/dune
Habitat Comments: Nonbreeding: primarily pelagic. Nests usually on remote outlying islets and rocks; on sandy beaches, bare ground or coral, most often with scattered grasses present or among bushes (under dense vegetation at Culebra, Puerto Rico), less frequently on rocky ledges; see Spendelow and Patton (1988) for further details on nesting sites in different areas. Young seek shade when not being brooded.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore, Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore, Piscivore
Food Comments: Eats small fishes and squids that rise to surface or leap out of water when chased by predatory fishes (Terres 1980). Feeds at sea near nesting islands (Pratt et al. 1987), often over schools of tuna. Swoops to surface, occasionally plunges.
Adult Phenology: Circadian
Immature Phenology: Circadian
Phenology Comments: Has been observed feeding at sea at night.
Colonial Breeder: Y
Length: 41 centimeters
Weight: 180 grams
Economic Attributes
Help
Economic Comments: Eggs commonly are collected in Caribbean region (van Halewyn and Norton 1984, Fairbairn and Haynes 1982, Haynes 1987).
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Help
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Help
Group Name: Colonial Seabirds

Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Breeding Colony
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding , or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.
Mapping Guidance: Map foraging areas as separate polygons if they are separated from the breeding colony by areas simply flown over on commuting routes.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: Where colonies are closer than 5 kilometers, separate occurrences may be created if research shows little genetic mixing between colonies.
Separation Justification: Occurrences include nesting and foraging areas, but occurrence separations are based on nesting areas (i.e., distance between nesting areas, regardless of foraging locations). Hence, different occurrences may overlap.

Occurrences are not based on discrete populations or metapopulations. Instead, the separation distance is arbitrarily small such that occurrences are of of practical size for data management purposes.

Evidence from a number of species of seabirds indicates that even though the 'home ranges' of individual nesting seabirds may be immense when foraging trips are taken into account, little movement or feeding overlap may occur between nearby colonies. For example, Thick-billed Murres may commute up to 170 kilometers one way on a feeding trip from the colony, but birds from a colony only 8 kilometers away may forage in a completely different direction; even birds from different sub-colonies only 1.5 kilometers apart mostly fed in completely separate areas (Gaston and Hipfner 2000).

Most seabirds have strong breeding site fidelity; e.g., Thick-billed Murres (Gaston and Hipfner 2000, Gaston et al. 1994), Gray-backed Tern (Mostello et al. 2000), Red-footed Booby (Schreiber et al. 1996).

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 2 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Somewhat arbitrary, but generally very conservative for this group, many members of which travel long distances to foraging grounds.
Date: 20Oct2004
Author: Cannings, S., and G. Hammerson

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Feeding area, Loafing site, Roosting site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of flocks of nonbreeding birds (including historical), including nonbreeding birds within the breeding season and breeding individuals outside the breeding season; and potential recurring presence at a given location. Normally only areas where concentrations greater than 25 birds regularly occur for more than 20 days per year would be deemed EOs; the number of individuals may be reduced for very rare species. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance arbitrary; defined this small to aid in conservation planning. Sites more than 10 kilometers apart may be joined as one occurrence if research shows that predominantly the same individuals are using both sites.
Date: 07Mar2001
Author: Cannings, S.
Population/Occurrence Viability
Help
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
Help
Authors/Contributors
Help
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 14Dec1989
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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