Black noddies eat a wide variety of prey and are opportunistic predators. Their diet is mainly made up of small fish, squid, and crustaceans. The composition of the diet varies substantially with the region and seasonal abundance of prey. Prey are typically small, averaging 34 mm in length, fish prey averaged 19 to 64 mm in length. Analysis of regurgitated food for young suggest that fish are the dominant prey. Black noddies take prey from the ocean surface in nearshore areas, including lagoons, bays, and brackish coastal ponds. Most individuals are observed foraging within 10 km of breeding or roosting islands. Unlike most terns, black noddies do not dive for their prey. Instead they skim or dip at the surface or sometimes briefly land on the water to grab prey. They eat prey immediately and do not carry prey in their bills, which is consistent with their habit of regurgitating food for young. Black noddies typically forage in large, mixed-species flocks over schools of foraging predatory fish, such as tunas (Scombridae) or jacks (Caranx). In the Hawaiian islands black noddies forage over schools of skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) 75% of the time and target the same prey fish and size of fish. They typically leave colonies in the morning and return in the evening, although night-time foraging has also been suggested.
Animal Foods: fish; mollusks; aquatic crustaceans
Primary Diet: carnivore (Piscivore )