Sooty Tern

About the Sooty Tern

Also known as: Wideawake Tern, Wideawake

The Sooty Tern is a bird of the tropical oceans, breeding on islands close to the equator. Sooty Terns are migratory and dispersive, wintering more widely through the tropical oceans. Sooty Terns breed in colonies on rocky or coral islands. It feeds by picking fish from the surface in marine environments, often in large flocks, and rarely comes to land except to breed, and can stay out at sea for between three to ten years!

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Details & Statistics

Added to Birdorable
Hatched on 20 July 2007
Scientific Name
Onychoprion fuscata
  • Charadriiformes
  • Sternidae
  • Onychoprion
  • O. fuscatus
Birdorable Family
Conservation Status
Least Concern (as of 21 March 2020)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
Units: Imperial / Metric
13 to 14 inches
32 to 37 inches


International Names

Brazilian (Português brasileiro) Trinta-réis-das-rocas
Chinese (汉语) 乌燕鸥
Czech (Cesky) Rybák černohřbetý
Danish (Dansk) Sodfarvet Terne
Dutch (Nederlands) Bonte Stern
Finnish (Suomi) Nokitiira
French (Français) Sterne Fuligineuse
German (Deutsch) Rußseeschwalbe
Italian (Italiano) Rondine di Mare Oscura
Japanese (日本語) セグロアジサシ (Seguroajisashi)
Korean (한국어) 검은등제비갈매기 (Geomeundeungjebigalmaegi)
Norwegian (Norsk) Sotterne
Polish (Polski) Rybitwa Czarnogrzbieta
Russian (русский язык) Темная крачка
Spanish (Español) Charrán Sombrío
Swedish (Svenska) Sottärna
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The Sooty Tern is a seabird that breeds on equatorial islands. Outside of breeding, they rarely are seen on land. The Sooty Tern has two nicknames related to its loud and somewhat ... more