White-tailed tropicbird

These ocean wanderers can be spotted from a distance showing awe-inspiring aerial tricks

HarmonyonPlanetEarth

A stunning seabird known for its elegant aerial displays and striking white plumage, contrasted by its long, streaming tail feathers and distinctive black markings on its wings. These birds are often seen gliding effortlessly above the open ocean, where they search for their prey of, squids, flying fish, and crustaceans.

During the breeding season, White-tailed Tropicbirds engage in captivating courtship rituals, where groups of birds perform intricate aerial maneuvers to attract potential mates. Once a pair forms a bond, they seek out a suitable nesting site, which can vary from rocky cliffs to tree bases or even ground burrows on remote islands and atolls.

Nesting sites are carefully chosen to provide protection from predators and the elements, ensuring the safety of the single egg laid by the female. Both parents take turns incubating the egg, which typically hatches after about 40 to 50 days. Once the chick emerges, it is cared for diligently by both parents, who regurgitate food to feed their offspring for up to 60 days until it is ready to fend for itself.

Despite their remarkable adaptations for life at sea, White-tailed Tropicbirds face numerous threats, primarily from human activities. Plastic pollution, in particular, poses a significant hazard, as these birds may ingest or become entangled in discarded fishing nets and other debris. Additionally, oil spills can have devastating effects on their populations, as contact with oil can impair their ability to fly and hunt for food, leading to reduced breeding success and increased mortality rates.

Invasive species, such as rats and feral cats, also pose a threat to White-tailed Tropicbirds and their nesting sites, as these predators can prey on eggs, chicks, and even adult birds. Habitat destruction and disturbance from human activities, including tourism and development, further compound the challenges facing these birds.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
American Samoa
2019
Breeding
Angola
2019
Vagrant
Anguilla
2019
Antigua & Barbuda
2019
Australia
2019
Bahamas
2019
Barbados
2019
Belize
2019
Benin
2019
Seasonality Uncertain
Bermuda
2019
Breeding
Bonaire Sint Eustatius And Saba
2019
Brazil
2019
British Indian T.
2019
Breeding
British Virgin Is.
2019
Breeding
Cameroon
2019
Canada
2019
Cayman Islands
2019
Chile
2019
China
2019
Christmas Island
2019
Cocos Is. (Keeling)
2019
Breeding
Colombia
2019
Comoros
2019
Cook Islands
2019
Non-Breeding
Cuba
2019
Curaçao
2019
Côte D’ivoire
2019
Seasonality Uncertain
Dominica
2019
Dominican Republic
2019
East Timor
2019
Vagrant
Equatorial Guinea
2019
Fiji
2019
French Guiana
2019
Seasonality Uncertain
French Polynesia
2019
Gabon
2019
Seasonality Uncertain
Ghana
2019
Vagrant
Grenada
2019
Guadeloupe
2019
Seasonality Uncertain
Guam
2019
Non-Breeding
Guatemala
2019
Guyana
2019
Seasonality Uncertain
Haiti
2019
Honduras
2019
Seasonality Uncertain
India
2019
Indonesia
2019
Islands
2019
Breeding
Jamaica
2019
Breeding
Japan
2019
Kenya
2019
Liberia
2019
Vagrant
Madagascar
2019
Malaysia
2019
Maldives
2019
Breeding
Marshall Islands
2019
Breeding
Martinique
2019
Mauritius
2019
Breeding
Mayotte
2019
Mexico
2019
Micronesia
2019
Breeding
Montserrat
2019
Mozambique
2019
Myanmar
2019
Nauru
2019
Seasonality Uncertain
New Caledonia
2019
New Zealand
2019
Vagrant
Nigeria
2019
Seasonality Uncertain
Nort. Mariana Is.
2019
Breeding
Palau
2019
Breeding
Panama
2019
Vagrant
Philippines
2019
Puerto Rico
2019
Breeding
Réunion
2019
Breeding
Saint Barthélemy
2019
Seasonality Uncertain
Saint Helena
2019
Breeding
Saint Lucia
2019
Saint Martin
2019
French Part
Saint Vincent
2019
Seychelles
2019
Breeding
Sint Maarten
2019
Dutch Part
Solomon Islands
2019
South Africa
2019
Sri Lanka
2019
St. Kitts & Nevis
2019
Suriname
2019
Seasonality Uncertain
São Tomé & Príncipe
2019
Taiwan
2019
Tanzania
2019
Thailand
2019
Togo
2019
Seasonality Uncertain
Tonga
2019
Trinidad & Tobago
2019
Turks & Caicos
2019
Breeding
US Minor Is.
2019
Seasonality Uncertain
US Virgin Islands
2019
Breeding
United States
2019
Breeding: Hawaiian Is.
Vanuatu
2019
Venezuela
2019
Seasonality Uncertain
Wallis & Futuna
2019
Breeding

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Flock

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No