Here's the bird of the day: the beautiful noio, or black tern. Any artist would admire the color blending from the white cap to the black of the lower body. The white eyeliner below the eye adds a nice touch. Funny how birds are named; if I didn't know any better, I'd say this was the sooty tern, as it looks a bit like a chimney sweep with a fresh layer of ash on its head. The sooty tern is actually distinctly black and white (see pic), but I digress.
We have two subspecies of black noddies here in Hawaii: A. s. melanogenys (MHI) and A. s. marcusi (NWHI). Noio are a social lot and are homebodies, flocking and breeding close together on rocky cliffs and off-shore islands. When foraging, they generally stay close to the breeding colony, typically leaving in the morning and returning in the evening, though some nightime foraging may occur. Like the manu o ku, this diurnal pattern may offer clues to the observant crew of the Hokule'a as they search for land. Noio are often found following schools of predatory fish, such as skipjack tuna, that drive fish and other prey to the surface, making it easier to skim along to grab a quick bite. Meals are swallowed immediately - you won't see a noio carrying a fish or squid. Back at base camp, they regurgitate their food for their chick. Mom and Dad share all child-rearing duties, and raise usually one chick in a bit of a sloppy-looking nest glued together with guano. Noddies may nest in trees as well as ledges and caves; ironwood, naupaka, and beach heliotrope are favored. Courtship involves a variety of body language, from "bridling," where the male moves his head forward and back while snapping his bill open and closed; to the nodding display, where both male and female dip and bow. There may also something called the "foot-looking" display, where the noio seems to inspect their feet (interesting), and the "gaping" displays, where the colorful orange-yellow mouth is opened and pointed downward.
welcomes you to visit with the all the wonderful flora and fauna that we share this lovely aina with.