- Phaethon lepturus
70-82 cm (27½-32¼ in) long (includes very long central tail feathers)
- White back
- Black band on inner wing upperside
- Black on outer primaries
- White primary coverts on upperside
- Black line through eye tends to turn down
- Yellow to red bill
Sexes are similar (males have a long tail)
Juvenile: lacks taill streamers
- Greenish-yellow bill
- Finely barred back
The tropical Atlantic, western Pacific and Indian Oceans. They also breed on some Caribbean islands.
There are six subspecies:
- P. l. lepturus:
- Islands in Indian Ocean
- P. l. fulvus: the tropicbirds of this subspecies have a golden-yellow wash of varying degrees, giving them the local name of Golden Bosun (photo to right)
- P. l. europae:
- Europa Island (southern Mozambique Channel)
- P. l. catesbyi:
- Breeds islands in tropical Atlantic Ocean
- P. l. dorotheae:
- P. l. ascensionis:
- Fernando de Noronha and Ascension Islands
Breeds on rocky island coasts, otherwise pelagic.
The single egg is laid on a cliff edge or on the ground in a sheltered scrape. The breed in loose colonies.
Their diet consists of small fish (especially flying fish) and squid, caught by diving.
- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
- Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved Oct 2017)
- BirdForum Opus contributors. (2021) White-tailed Tropicbird. In: BirdForum, the forum for wild birds and birding. Retrieved 21 January 2021 from https://www.birdforum.net/wiki/White-tailed_Tropicbird