Birds of the World

COAST BIRDS
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WORLD BIRDS
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ANECDOTES

  Red-billed Tropicbird
 
 
 

TRAITS
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Totipalmate Swm

   Tropicbirds
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   Frigatebirds

 
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PASSERINES
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      Broadbills
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 NW SUBOSC
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 OSCINES
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 9-prim. Oscines

   Fringillines
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   NW Sparrows
   NW Warblers
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Pelecaniformes - Phaethontidae
 
Skip to:   
Pelecaniformes
Families: Tropicbirds, Gannets and Boobies, Pelicans, Cormorants, Anhingas, Frigatebirds,
      Hamerkop, Shoebill
 
Skip to:  
All Tropicbirds, All Sulids, All Pelicans, All Cormorants, All Anhingas, All Frigatebirds,
Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge
 
Skip to:  
Plunge Diving, Relative Sizes of Pelicans, Identifying Frigatebirds
 
Species:   
Red-tailed Tropicbird, Blue-footed Booby, Nazca Booby, Australian Pelican,
Brown Pelican (Galapagos), Peruvian Pelican. Pied Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant,
Brandt's Cormorant
, Neotropic Cormorant, Rock Cormorant, Imperial Cormorant,
Red-legged Cormorant, Flightless Cormorant, Great Frigatebird
 
Images:   
Red-billed Tropicbird, Blue-footed Booby, Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant,
Anhinga, Magnificent Frigatebird, Totipalmate toes, Gular pouch, Red-billed Tropicbirds, Masked Booby, Northern Gannet, Brown Pelican. Anhinga, Great Frigatebird
 
  Order Pelecaniformes - Totipalmate Swimmers
or
Order Phaethontiformes - Tropicbirds
Wiki     ToL     EoL
   
  Family Phaethontidae - Tropicbirds
Wiki     ToL     EoL
EXAMPLE
  3 species, 1 genus (Phaethon). Tropicbirds are found mainly in the tropics and sub-tropics of the southern hemisphere but range north to the west coast of Mexico in the Pacific and to Bermuda in the Atlantic. Tropicbirds appear to be an ancient lineage, unrelated to other pelecaniforms (with distant relationships to the tube-nosed swimmers - Procelleriiformes). This would justify placing them in a separate order, the Order Phaethontiformes.
   Tropicbirds are medium-sized pelagic ocean birds with white plumage and no apparent gular pouch - the throat is feathered. The bill is brightly-colored, long, serrate, and slightly decurved. The mandibles are serrated. The central tail-feathers are greatly elongated (up to 20") and several species are named for the color of these feathers. Their wing span is about 3 feet. Males and females are alike. Their nostrils are pervious and open into a slit-like aperture.
     The palate is schizognathous - the palatines are completely separate; the vomer is present; there is a deep nasal hinge; the free end of the clavicle is not faceted for articulation with the acrocoracoid. Like pelicans, their skin is emphysematous - it contains air cells. They have small black, fully-webbed feet (totipalmate) and short legs - placed well back on the body - and cannot stand on land. They may rest on the water with their tail arched.   They feed on squid and fish - often catching flying fish above the surface. Tropic birds may also plunge dive for fish (from as high as 80'). They usually feed as individuals - not in flocks.
   They are monogamous and females lay a single egg in a scrape in sand or earth, often in shaded cavities, under overhanging rocks, or on cliffs. They are solitary breeders or nest in loose colonies. Incubation lasts 42-47 days. Both parents participate but the female does more incubating, the male brings her food. Chicks have dense down when they hatch. They fledge in 10-13 weeks and may float on the ocean for several days as they use their extensive fat deposits and loose weight before they learn to fly. .
    Tropicbirds fly gracefully with steady rapid wing-beats. When swimming, they float with their tail cocked. They have a loud, grating shrill call - most often heard near their breeding area.
   The order includes an extinct group, the Family Prophaethontidae.
Tropic-birds
 
Red-billed Tropicbirds, Phaethon aethereus. Española, Galapagos. Note elongate central tail feathers
                                     Wiki     ToL     EoL .
 
 
All Tropicbirds - Pelagic birds of tropical oceans.

   Red-billed Tropicbird (Boatswain Bird), Phaethon aethereus. Eastern Pacific, Caribbean and the eastern Atlantic, south Atlantic (Ascension
      and St. Helena Islands), and Red Sea, Persian Gulf, and Gulf of Aden
   Red-tailed Tropicbird, Phaethon rubricauda. Tropical Pacific Ocean, including southwestern Pacific islands and islands in the Indian Ocean
      and Easter Island.
   White-tailed Tropicbird, Phaethon lepturus. Islands in the Indian Ocean and tropical western Pacific (east to Hawaii), and tropical Atlantic
      Ocean and Fernando de Noronha and Ascension Islands.
 
  Red-tailed Tropicbird, Phaeton rubricauda 
 
USGS     Wiki     ToL     EoL
     Not found along the East Coast but included to present all three tropicbirds. Range from the  Hawaiian Islands  to Easter Island and Mauritius and Reunion. Non-breeders range from the Red Sea to New Zealand and Chile. They are white, often with a pink tinge, a black line around the eye, and a thin red tail feather. The bill is bright red and the feet are black
  NOTES:
  ●  Not found in the Atlantic.
       
    Kilauea Point  
 

Kilauea Point, Kauai. Red-tailed Tropicbirds (and boobies) are common on the northern shore of the oldest large island in the chain.                                               USGS     Wiki  
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
 
   
  Banner - Red-billed Tropicbird (on nest). Champion Island, Floreana. Galapagos.