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Old 07-04-2009, 15:59   #1
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Night visitor! What bird is it?

Nicolle was on watch at about 10pm (2200 for the real ol salts...) when a flutterin above her head and downth landed one of our favourite little birds on the Bimini just inches away!

We are sailing Australiaís Tropical east coast and have see these birds often, but none have ever landed.
They are very similar to St Peters Petrels, but have the white head.

They don't dance on the water like the St Peters Petrels famously do.

A petrel or small Shearwater?

He stayed with us till dawn, sleeping for a few hours and then doing some preening and then some stretches before flitting off for breakfast.

We could get very close to him and he didn't mind at all.

In the photo you can see he is very small. The tubing of the Bimini is 1 inch (25 mm)

We don't have a bird book (it would be a nice present, hint, hint) and can't find him on the net.

Any ideas what he is?


Mark
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Old 07-04-2009, 17:58   #2
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Old 07-04-2009, 19:44   #3
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Lesser noddy?

Anous tenuirostris

the beak is wrong for a petrel.
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Old 08-04-2009, 01:26   #4
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Anous tenuirostris

the beak is wrong for a petrel.

Thanks Bash! Luv your work!



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Old 08-04-2009, 03:15   #5
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Unless it is now a recent arrival in Queensland or a vagrant thousands of miles from its range which is very unlikely, it is not anous tenuirostris (Lesser Noddy) but is a.tenuirostris minutus (Black Noddy or White Capped Noddy). The Lesser Noddy is an Indian Ocean gull.

Whereas the Black Noddy/White Capped Noddy is found throughout the tropic Pacific and Atlantic and has a whiter cap than the Lesser Noddy.
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Old 08-04-2009, 03:45   #6
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The Lesser Noddy is an Indian Ocean gull.

Whereas the Black Noddy/White Capped Noddy is found throughout the tropic Pacific and Atlantic and has a whiter cap than the Lesser Noddy.
Thank you, oh wise one. I was looking up "white headed" in google... didnt think of "capped"!

I shall wrench the Natural History Award off Bash and bestow it on you

Damn fine little birds

Thanks for your help.

Mark
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Old 08-04-2009, 05:11   #7
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I have smacked myself on the back of the hand though because I see that I did slip up by referring to "gull" - of course they are not really gulls but it is convenient to just call all seabirds "seagulls" .
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Old 08-04-2009, 05:59   #8
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Old 08-04-2009, 07:34   #9
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not to quibble, but...

...there is an Australian subspecies of the Lesser noddy.
Anous tenuirostris melanops

difficult to argue either way from the photo. A noddy of some sort, though, almost certainly. (And, as far as the Natural History Award should be concerned, definitely not a gull.)
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:57   #10
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I had TWO very similar birds fly into my boat off of the Galapagos on the same night. The first bounced right off of my chest! Scared the pee out of me, I can tell you that!
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Old 08-04-2009, 15:16   #11
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...there is an Australian subspecies of the Lesser noddy.
Anous tenuirostris melanops

difficult to argue either way from the photo. A noddy of some sort, though, almost certainly. (And, as far as the Natural History Award should be concerned, definitely not a gull.)
Makes life easy if they're all just called seagulls .

As far as I am aware melanops is only found in small areas of Western Australia not Queensland so is not it. If there is another noddy possibility it is the brown noddy (a. solidus) which is also found in Queensland.

I think the black noddy is now just a. minutus the tenuirostris part dying a death.
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Old 08-04-2009, 15:56   #12
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We need a good book on all these.

And on fish, whales dolphins etc.
There was an excellent one called Identifing Whales and Dolphins. But we couldnt afford it at the time.

Thanks for that link Gord!

Its a beauty
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Old 08-04-2009, 16:21   #13
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We need a good book on all these.
For seabirds Mark, a really excellent book is "Seabirds, an Identification Guide" by Peter Harrison but unfortunately out of print for many years now. When written it covered all of the world's then known seabirds and is done with small paintings rather than photographs so each of the main distinguishing features can be shown as well as the juvenile, etc forms.

It is available second hand (eg Amazon) but because of its merit it is quite expensive (over USD100 for hardback even though not a big glossy type of book unless lucky enuff to find one in a small store not knowing its real value). Maybe you have a pressie giver who can leap to that .

Harrison did a later photograph based book, "Seabirds, a Photographic Guide" I think its called, but that is a much inferior book and I personally would not bother with it.

We are due to pass through Cook Strait tommorrow and given there have been gales through there all week we are looking forward to perhaps some albatross soaring displays.
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