Red-tailed Tropicbird

Phaethon rubricauda

Order

PELECANIFORMES

Family

Tropicbirds (Phaethontidae)

Code 4

RTTR

Code 6

PHARUB

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Red-tailed Tropicbird is a seabird found commonly in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, though it is the rarest of tropicbirds. This species forms colonies during nesting season, and roosts on ocean islands. Nesting ranges include the Hawaiian Islands, Easter Island and Mauritius. Some may be found in Japan and the Philippines, the Red Sea, New Zealand and Chile. The Red-tailed Tropicbird typically breeds in habitats combining coral atolls with low shrublands. Nests are built underneath the low shrubs or within limestone cavities on the islands. Feeding takes place offshore in the sea, and they plunge for fish and squid. The conservation rating for this species is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Red-tailed Tropicbird: Medium tropicbird with silky white plumage, small but conspicuous black eyestripe. Bill is coral red. Legs and feet are black. Tail has long, red central streamers. Swift, purposeful flight, alternates fluttering wing beats with glides. Hovers while hunting and in courtship.


Range and Habitat

Red-tailed Tropicbird: This species nests on the Hawaiian Islands and disperses widely in tropical and subtropical areas of the Indian and Pacific oceans; it occurs accidentally off southern California and along the California coast. It is more pelagic than other tropicbirds, and is usually seen far out at sea.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"squawk", "chirps"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Chicks are fed in shifts by the parents an average of every 17 hours.
  • The Red-tailed Tropicbird is the rarest of the tropicbirds, yet is still a widespread bird that is not considered threatened.
  • Their courtship displays are complex and consist of flying backwards, vertically, and in circles.
  • They feed offshore alone rather than in flocks.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Red-tailed Tropicbird

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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PelagicX
The pelagic is a type of bird whose habitat is on the open ocean rather than in a coastal region or on inland bodies of water (lakes, rivers). An example of a pelagic bird is the blacklegged kittiwake.
FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X