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Red-billed Tropicbird

From Opus

Alternative name: Boatswain Bird

Photo © by MiamiFuerteventura, Canary Islands Spain, May 2018
Photo © by Miami
Fuerteventura, Canary Islands Spain, May 2018
Phaethon aethereus


[edit] Identification

90–107 cm (35½-42 in), including tail streamers
Ws. 1m

Photo © by MomoIsla Española, Galapagos, Ecuador, December 2008
Photo © by Momo
Isla Española, Galapagos, Ecuador, December 2008
  • Very long central tail feathers
    • Can give bird total length of 96cm
  • Black on outer primaries
  • Black primary coverts on upperside
  • Black eye patch tends to turn up behind the eye
  • Red bill

Sexes are similar; males average longer-tailed

[edit] Juvenile

  • Lack tail streamers
  • Greyer-backed
  • Yellow bill

[edit] Similar species

White-tailed Tropicbird and Red-tailed Tropicbird. White-tailed Tropicbird has white primary coverts on upperside and black eye line tends to turn down, not up.

[edit] Distribution

Notice black primary coverts and the eye-line that tends to meet at rear crownPhoto © by bionicsherpaSouth Plaza, Galapagos, Ecuador, March 2009
Notice black primary coverts and the eye-line that tends to meet at rear crown
Photo © by bionicsherpa
South Plaza, Galapagos, Ecuador, March 2009

Found in tropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the north-west Indian Ocean and the eastern Pacific.

They breed in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, off the Pacific coast of Mexico, in the Caribbean, the Canary Islands, Spain, on islands in the southern Atlantic, and the Yemen, Oman and Saudi Arabian coasts.

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

Photo © by kitefarragoGorda banks, off Baja California, April 2012
Photo © by kitefarrago
Gorda banks, off Baja California, April 2012

Three subspecies are recognized[1]:

  • P. a. mesonauta:
  • Subtropical and tropical eastern Pacific, Caribbean and eastern Atlantic
  • P. a. aethereus:
  • P. a. indicus:
  • Red Sea, Persian Gulf and Gulf of Aden (at at one time considered a full species, the Lesser Red-billed Tropicbird.)

[edit] Habitat

Tropical islands, coastal cliffs and maritime.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Action

Reported to be not a good swimmer.

[edit] Breeding

They breed on tropical islands, laying a single egg on cliff ledges or on the ground.

[edit] Diet

They feed on fish and squid.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from
  2. BirdLife International
  3. Wikipedia

[edit] External Links


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