It is found in American Samoa, the Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Samoa, Tonga (Niua), Tuvalu and Hawaii. It has occurred as a vagrant in Australia and Japan. Its natural habitat is open, shallow seas in tropical and subtropical regions.
There are five listed subspecies:
The grey noddy (Procelsterna albivitta) replaces it to the south of its range; the two were formerly considered to be a single species but are now often split.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Procelsterna cerulea". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- "Coursers, noddies, gulls, terns, auks and sandgrouse". International Ornithological Congress. Retrieved 2015-01-10.
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