The Sooty Tern, a True Bird of the Sea

Since the last post was about a peculiar brave bird of the desert, this week we will be taking a look at a feathered friend that prefers to live by the ocean. Initially, it might be the case that only Seagulls and Pelicans came to mind when thinking about a bird that would live by the sea; however, just like the Cactus Wren, there are other kinds of spectacular species that are also part of the mix. Today we take a closer look at the Sooty Tern, a bird that quite literally has well earned the reputation of being a true “sea bird.”


Going by the official species name “Onychoprion fuscatus,” the Sooty Tern actually spends most of its time flying out in the middle of the sea. They typically follow warm currents, and they tend to only nest on small, remote islands away from large populations. Even though they are not endangered in any sort of way, there are actually colonies on Hawaii and other islands that are under very strict protection.

Since they tend to spend most of their time wandering the tropical sea, how this bird gets to eat can seem quite challenging. They rarely would ever actually dive into the water to pursue a meal, so what they do instead is search for small fish that have been driven very close to the surface by other predators or schools of fish.

Regarding their young, both the mother and father take turns feeding and looking after them. During the first eight weeks, the young get to grow and develop the ability to fly, and they also get to feed off of the regurgitated meals given to them from their parents (yum). After growing the ability to fly, the young would still continue to stick close to the nest until it is their time to finally take to the sea themselves.

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