1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Noddy

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NODDY, the name applied, originally by sailors, to a sea-bird, from its showing so little fear of man as to be accounted stupid. It is the Sterna stolida of Linnaeus, and the Anous stolidus of modern ornithology, having the figure of a Tern (q.v.), and belonging to the sub-family Sterninae, but is heavier in flight, with shorter wings, and the tail less deeply forked. The plumage is of a uniform sooty hue, excepting the crown of the head, which is light grey. The Noddy is very generally distributed throughout the tropical or nearly tropical oceans, but occasionally wanders into colder climates, and has been met with even in the Irish Sea. It breeds, often in astounding numbers, on low cays and coral-islets, commonly making a small nest of sea-weed or small twigs. Howard Saunders (Proc. Zool. Society, 1876, pp. 669-672) admits four other species of the genus: Anous tenuirostris, supposed to be confined to the southern part of the Indian Ocean, from Madagascar to West Australia; A. melanogenys, often confounded with the last, but having nearly as wide a range as the first; and A. leucocapillus, hitherto known only from Torres Strait and the Southern Pacific. These three have much resemblance to A. stolidus, but are smaller in size, and the two latter have the crown white instead of grey. The fourth species, A. caeruleus (with which he includes the A. cinereus of some authors), differs not inconsiderably, being of a dove-colour, lighter on the head and darker on the back, the wings bearing a narrow white bar, with their quill-feathers blackish-brown, while the feet are reddish and the webs yellow. Three more species— A. superciliosus from the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, A. plumbeigularis from the Red Sea, and A. galapagensis from the Galapagos—have been added by R. Bowdler Sharpe (Philos. Transactions, clxviii. pp. 468, 469), according to whom (Proc. Zool. Society, 1878, p. 272) A. cinereus of the Eastern Pacific is distinct from A. caeruleus of Australia and the Western Pacific. (A. N.)