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4

Red-tailed Tropicbird

(Phaethon rubricauda)
Alternate name(s): "Red-tailed Bosunbird"
Size: 45-50 cm; tail streamers 40 cm; wing span 90-95 cm

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Red-tailed Tropicbird at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

ADULT

Red-tailed Tropicbird stranded on the lawn of a property in inland NSW after a fierce storm (photo courtesy of D. Johnston)
[Near Baradine, NSW, 1980ies]

Lateral view of a Red-tailed Tropicbird taking off from a rock (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Malabar Cliff, Lord Howe Island, November 2014]

Frontal view of a Red-tailed Tropicbird in flight (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Malabar Cliff, Lord Howe Island, November 2014]

Near-frontal view of a Red-tailed Tropicbird in flight (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Malabar Cliff, Lord Howe Island, November 2014]

View from above onto a Red-tailed Tropicbird in flight (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Malabar Cliff, Lord Howe Island, November 2014]

Ventral view of a Red-tailed Tropicbird in flight (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Malabar Cliff, Lord Howe Island, November 2014]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Sep - Jan Eggs: 1 Incubation period: 41 - 50 days Fledging age: 10 - 15 weeks

The breeding season listed above is typical for the more southerly breeding sites. In the tropics, Red-tailed Tropicbirds can breed basically all year round.

Nest building: ? Incubation: Female & male Dependent care: Female & male

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Scrape Material: Sand Height above ground: N/A

Red-tailed Tropicbirds nest in sheltered spots, e.g. under shrubs, or under overhanging rocks or in rock crevices.

Red-tailed Tropicbird on its nest between grass tussocks (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Norfolk Island, January 2008]

Red-tailed Tropicbird on its nest under a shrub (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Norfolk Island, January 2008]

Frontal view of a Red-tailed Tropicbird chick in its nest under a shrub (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Lady Elliot Island, near Agnes Water, QLD, January 2006]

Near-frontal view of a Red-tailed Tropicbird chick (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Lady Elliot Island, near Agnes Water, QLD, January 2006]

Near-dorsal view of a Red-tailed Tropicbird chick (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Lady Elliot Island, near Agnes Water, QLD, January 2016]

Dorsal view of a Red-tailed Tropicbird chick (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Lady Elliot Island, near Agnes Water, QLD, January 2006]

Red-tailed Tropicbird chick with its wings spread out (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Lady Elliot Island, near Agnes Water, QLD, January 2016]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 64 x 46 mm Colour: Creamy, with many small brown speckles Shape: Tapered oval

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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