Biodiversity

Species Profile and Threats Database


For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
 
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed marine
Listed migratory - CAMBA, JAMBA
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Policy Statements and Guidelines Marine bioregional plan for the Temperate East Marine Region (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012aa) [Admin Guideline].
 
Marine bioregional plan for the North Marine Region (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012x) [Admin Guideline].
 
Marine bioregional plan for the South-west Marine Region (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012z) [Admin Guideline].
 
Offshore and foraging pelagic seabirds - A Vulnerability Assessment for the Great Barrier Reef (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), 2011h) [Admin Guideline].
 
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
List of Migratory Species (13/07/2000) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000b) [Legislative Instrument].
 
Declaration under section 248 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of Marine Species (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000c) [Legislative Instrument].
 
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Least Concern (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
Scientific name Anous stolidus [825]
Family Laridae:Charadriiformes:Aves:Chordata:Animalia
Species author (Linnaeus,1758)
Infraspecies author  
Reference  
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images

There are four subspecies of the Common Noddy (Anous stolidus) recognised, but only one subspecies, A. s. pileatus, occurs in the Australia region (Higgins & Davies 1996).

Australian Distribution

In Australia, the Common Noddy occurs mainly in ocean off the Queensland coast, but the species also occurs off the north-west and central Western Australia coast. The species is also rarely encountered off the coast of the Northern Territory, where only one breeding location with about 100-130 birds is known (Chatto 2001). The species also occurs on Norfolk, Lord Howe, Christmas and Cocos-Keeling Islands (Higgins & Davies 1996).

Global Distribution

Outside of Australia, the Common Noddy is widespread in tropical and subtropical seas and landmasses.

Atlantic Ocean

The species occurs through the Atlantic Ocean, breeding mainly on islands in the Caribbean Sea and south-east Gulf of Mexico. The species range extends west from the Bahamas, through southern Florida to islands off the Yucatan Peninsula and south-east through the Caribbean Islands to Lesser Antilles and other islands off Venezuela.

Indian Ocean

In the western Indian Ocean, the species breeds from Madagascar and Mascarenes to the Seychelles, as well as around the coasts of Tanzania, Kenya, northern Somalia, northern Ethiopia. The species is also known to occur around the Red Sea and east to Oman. In the central Indian Ocean, the species breeds from Chagos, north through the Maldives, to Laccadive Island. Further east, the species occurs and breeds from Cocos-Keeling and Christmas Islands, east to the western and northern coast of Australia and north through Indonesia and Malaysia.

Pacific Ocean

In the west of the North Pacific Ocean, the Common Noddy occurs and breeds in the southern Philippines, through to islands off south-east China, southern Japan and Micronesia. The species also occurs in the South Pacific Ocean on Lord Howe, Norfolk and Kermadec Islands, east to Hawaii, Marquesas, the Pitcairn Islands, Easter Island, Sala y Gomez, San Ambrosio, San Felix, Galapagos Islands and islets off Costa Rica and western Mexico (Higgins & Davies 1996).

In 1996, the total Australian population of the Common Noddy was estimated to be between 174 480 and 214 130 breeding pairs (Ross et al. 1996a). A 2012 IUCN assessment of the species’ conservation status noted that the global population size was estimated between 180 000 and 1 100 000 individuals; no estimated proportion of the population residing in Australia was given (Birdlife International 2012).

During the breeding season, the Common Noddy usually occurs on or near islands, on rocky islets and stacks with precipitous cliffs, or on shoals or cays of coral or sand. When not at the nest, individuals will remain close, foraging in the surrounding waters. Birds may nest in bushes, saltbush, or other low vegetation. They may also nest on the ground in Pigface (Carpobrotus spp.) or grass, on bare rock, on top of rocks protruding above vegetation, on shingle beaches, among coral rubble or in sand close to grassy areas. The species has also been recorded nesting in the fork of tall trees, at the top of Coconut Palms (Cocos nucifera), holes in dead timber and on tree-stumps. On Lord Howe, Kermadec and Christmas Islands, many nests are built on cliff ledges (Higgins & Davies 1996). Although the species is obviously quite flexible in regards to nesting locations, pairs appear to select nesting habitat based on a hierarchy of preference (Higgins & Davies 1996).

During the non-breeding period, the species occurs in groups throughout the pelagic zone (open ocean) (Higgins & Davies 1996).

The Common Noddy is gregarious and normally occurs in flocks, sometimes with up to hundreds of individuals, when feeding or roosting. Groups occasionally reach thousands on land during the breeding season (Higgins & Davies 1996).

The seasonality of breeding varies greatly between sites. At some locations, birds breed annually (King et al. 1992) and at others birds breed twice a year (spring to early summer and again in autumn). On some islands, the species is known to breed throughout the year.

Within a colony, breeding is not synchronised (Fuller et al. 1994). Clutch size is usually restricted to a single egg (Higgins & Davies 1996), but sometimes two eggs occur (King 1985). If the nest egg is removed, females will re-lay, up to three consecutive times (Gibson-Hill 1947). Cold and wet weather, or cyclones, can cause complete nesting failure; and colonies have been reported as destroyed by egging activity of fishermen (Higgins & Davies 1996).

Breeding colonies have been recorded from at least 50 islands in Australia (including from 31 islands in Queensland) and Australian breeding aggregations vary in size from a few pairs to at least 100 000 pairs. Breeding colonies on Norfolk, Lord Howe, Christmas and Cocos-Keeling Islands vary in size from approximately 500 pairs to several thousand pairs (Higgins & Davies 1996).

The Common Noddy feeds mainly on fish, although they are known to also take squid, pelagic molluscs, medusae, aquatic insects and even Screw Pine (Pandanus spp.) fruit (Higgins & Davies 1996). Birds usually feed during the day, although they will feed at night when there is a full moon (Gibson-Hill 1947). Individuals feed by dipping; gleaning items from the surface or just below the surface of the water, while flying (Higgins & Davies 1996). The Common Noddy will often forage farther from shore than other species of the same genus (Feare 1981) and flocks have been recorded at sea hundreds of kilometres from breeding islands (Serventy et al. 1971).

The movement patterns of the Common Noddy are poorly known; however, they are probably dispersive or migratory (Harrison 1983). In the Australian region, all islands where breeding is seasonal are mostly or totally deserted outside the breeding season (e.g. Cocos-Keeling, Houtman, Abrolhos and Norfolk Islands). On islands where breeding is continuous, numbers vary seasonally (e.g. Michaelmas Cay and Bell Cay) (Higgins & Davies 1996). Recovery of two birds banded at Raine Island, north Queensland, indicate some movement of individuals east to the mainland and north to Papua New Guinea (PNG) (Dobbs 1998).

Some extralimital colonies are considered migratory (e.g. Tristan da Cunha; most Caribbean colonies). In other locations, breeding birds are present throughout the year, but individuals are suspected to leave colonies for part of the year (e.g. colonies in the tropical Atlantic Ocean) (Higgins & Davies 1996).

The most regularly used method of estimating population size is to survey islands with breeding colonies, either by monthly counts of breeding and non-breeding birds, or counts of nests (e.g. King et al. 1992).

The Common Noddy is considered to be mostly secure in Australia, but some colonies have suffered declines that appear mainly to be due to introduced predators. Numbers on Christmas Island have been adversely affected by Rats (Rattus spp.), Cats (Felis catus) and humans since settlement (Stokes 1988). Colonies on Lacepede Island may also have been affected by Rats, which have since been eradicated) (Fuller et al. 1994). On Rat, Houtman and Abrolhos Islands, an estimated 1 million birds bred in 1889 (Campbell 1900), but breeding stopped between 1913 and 1936 (Johnstone & Coate 1992). These colonies were thought to have been destroyed by guano-mining and predation by Cats and Rats during this time (Fuller & Burbidge 1992). Rats were potentially a threat on the Coringa Islet in Coral Sea; however, a rat eradication program carried out between 1985 to 1991 succeeded, as there was no further evidence of rats on the islets (as of 2001) (Environment Australia 2001g).

Marine bioregional plans have been developed for four of Australia's marine regions - South-west, North-west, North and Temperate East. Marine Bioregional Plans will help improve the way decisions are made under the EPBC Act, particularly in relation to the protection of marine biodiversity and the sustainable use of our oceans and their resources by our marine-based industries. Marine Bioregional Plans improve our understanding of Australia's oceans by presenting a consolidated picture of the biophysical characteristics and diversity of marine life. They describe the marine environment and conservation values of each marine region, set out broad biodiversity objectives, identify regional priorities and outline strategies and actions to address these priorities. Click here for more information about marine bioregional plans.

The Common Noddy has been identified as a conservation value in the South-west (DSEWPaC 2012z), North (DSEWPaC 2012x) and Temperate East (DSEWPaC 2012aa) marine regions. See Schedule 2 of the South-west Marine Bioregional Plan (DSEWPaC 2012z) and the Temperate East Marine Bioregional Plan (DSEWPaC 2012aa) for regional advice. Maps of Biologically Important Areas have been developed for common noddy in the South-west (DSEWPaC 2012z), North (DSEWPaC 2012x) and Temperate East (DSEWPaC 2012aa) marine regions and may provide additional relevant information. Go to the conservation values atlas to view the locations of these Biologically Important Areas. The "species group report card - seabirds" for the South-west (DSEWPaC 2012z), North (DSEWPaC 2012x) and Temperate East (DSEWPaC 2012aa) marine regions provide additional information.

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Biological Resource Use:Hunting and Collecting Terrestrial Animals:Direct exploitation by humans including hunting Anous stolidus in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ax) [Internet].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Ecosystem Degradation:Decline in habitat quality Norfolk Island Region Threatened Species Recovery Plan (Director of National Parks (DNP), 2010a) [State Recovery Plan].
Energy Production and Mining:Mining and Quarrying:Habitat destruction, disturbance and/or modification due to mining activities Anous stolidus in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ax) [Internet].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Recreational Activities:Tourism impacts such as bird-watching Anous stolidus in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ax) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Felis catus (Cat, House Cat, Domestic Cat) Anous stolidus in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ax) [Internet].
Norfolk Island Region Threatened Species Recovery Plan (Director of National Parks (DNP), 2010a) [State Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Rattus rattus (Black Rat, Ship Rat) Anous stolidus in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ax) [Internet].
Norfolk Island Region Threatened Species Recovery Plan (Director of National Parks (DNP), 2010a) [State Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Canis lupus familiaris (Domestic Dog) Norfolk Island Region Threatened Species Recovery Plan (Director of National Parks (DNP), 2010a) [State Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation by rats Anous stolidus in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ax) [Internet].

Birdlife International (2012). Anous stolidus. IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. [Online]. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Available from: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22694794/0.

Campbell, A.J. (1900). Nests and Eggs of Australian Birds. Sheffield, Private.

Chatto, R. (2001). The distribution and status of colonial breeding seabirds in the Northern Territory. Parks & Wildlife Commission of the NT Technical Report. 70.

Dobbs, K. (1998). Movements of seabirds banded at Raine Island, northern Great Barrier Reef, Australia, 1978-1997. Unpublished report to Raine Island Corporation and the Queensland Department of Environment.

Environment Australia (2001g). Coringa-Herald National Nature Reserve & Lihou Reef National Nature Reserve Management Plan. Environment Australia, Canberra.

Feare, C.J. (1981). Breeding schedules and feeding strategies of Seychelles seabirds. Ostrich. 52:179-185.

Fuller, P.J. & A.A. Burbidge (1992). Seabird islands: Pelsaert Island, Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia. Corella. 16:47-58.

Fuller, P.J., A.A. Burbidge & R. Owens (1994). Breeding seabirds of the Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia: 1991-1993. Corella. 18:97-113.

Gibson-Hill, C.A. (1947). Notes on the birds of Christmas Island. Bulletin of the Raffles Museum. 18:87-165.

Harrison, P (1983). Seabirds: An Identification Guide. London: Croom Helm.

Higgins, P.J. & S.J.J.F. Davies, eds (1996). Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume Three - Snipe to Pigeons. Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.

Johnstone, R.E. & K. Coate (1992). Seabird islands: Wooded Island, Easter Group, Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia. Corella. 16:155-159.

King, B.R. (1985). Seabird islands: Michaelmas Cay, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Corella. 9:94-96.

King, B.R. (1993). The status of Queensland seabirds. Corella. 17:65-92.

King, B.R., J.T. Hicks & J. Cornelius (1992). Population changes, breeding cycles and breeding success over six years in a seabird colony at Michaelmas Cay, Queensland. Emu. 92.

Ross, G.J.B., A.A. Burbidge, N. Brothers, P. Canty, P. Dann, P.J. Fuller, K.R. Kerry, F.I. Norman, P.W. Menkhorst, D. Pemberton, G. Shaughnessy, P.D. Shaughnessy, G.C. Smith, T. Stokes & J. Tranter (1996a). The status of Australia's seabirds. In: Zann, L., ed. The State of the Marine Environment Report for Australia, Technical Summary. Dept of the Environment, Sport & Territories, Canb.

Serventy, D.L., V.N. Serventy & J. Warham (1971). The Handbook of Australian Seabirds. Sydney, NSW: A.H. & A.W. Reed.

Stokes, T. (1988). A review of the birds of Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service Occasional Paper.

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Anous stolidus in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Fri, 25 Jul 2014 02:05:21 +1000.