Phaethontidae – Tropicbirds

Three good looking species of seabirds with long tails, rarely seen on land

This family contains all existing Tropicbirds family, sister family to and the extinct Prophaethontidae family.

The Tropicbirds are seabirds distinguished by their long streaming tail feathers, often as long as their bodies! They have white plumage, stark black markings on their face, and wings with weak tiny legs.

Although they are generally poor swimmers, they can often be found hundreds of kilometers from the land because of their incredible flying skills. Once they spot their prey (usually fish, flying fish, and squid), they plunge and dive considerably to catch it.

Tropicbird chicks float on the sea for days to lose weight before they can fly.