SPECIES: Sterna fuscata — Sooty Tern
CLASSIFICATION: Vulnerable (NSW)
The most abundant seabird found during the summertime on Lord Howe Island would easily be the Sooty Tern. The Sooty Tern is a large, black seabird, found over tropical and sub-tropical seas. Quite often referred to by the locals on Lord Howe as Wide-awakes - because of the sound of their call, they soar, skim and dip into water in large flocks.
Like most seabirds, they will lay just one egg for the season. They breed in large colonies on offshore islands, and as we are learning about many of these species, Lord Howe happens to be their only known breeding ground. It's certainly a crucial link in the chain and itself needs protecting. Threats include predation on their breeding grounds by domestic dogs and introduced rats and invasive weeds.
FAME has committed to guard the paradise of Lord Howe Island and the species endemic to the Island, of which the Sooty Tern is but one. Our project, in conjuction with the Lord Howe Island Board and the NSW Government will help increase the number and breeding success of a range of woodhens and seabirds endemic to Lord Howe Island. For more info or to make a donation, visit the project page of our website.
Photo: Jack Shick