The red-tailed tropicbird is a seabird native to tropical parts of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Superficially resembling a tern in appearance, it has almost all-white plumage with a black mask and a red bill. Adults have red tail streamers that are about twice their body length. Nesting takes place in loose colonies on oceanic islands.
About Red-tailed tropicbird in brief
The red-tailed tropicbird is a seabird native to tropical parts of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Superficially resembling a tern in appearance, it has almost all-white plumage with a black mask and a red bill. Adults have red tail streamers that are about twice their body length. Nesting takes place in loose colonies on oceanic islands; the nest itself is a scrape found on a cliff face, in a crevice, or on a sandy beach. The parents make long food-foraging trips of about 150 hours during incubation, but once the chick has hatched, the parents specialize their foraging. This bird is considered to be a least-concern species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, though it is adversely affected by human contact. Rats and feral cats prey on eggs and young at nesting sites. The bird’s tail streamer was once prized by some Hawaiian and Maori peoples, and is now considered a delicacy by some birdwatchers. The species epithet comes from the Latin words ruber \”red\” and cauda \”tail\”. It has been designated as the official name by the International Ornithologists’ Union’ Other common names include red bosnbird’ or silver-tailed bosn bird’ and P. ruba rubicauda’ or P. novae-hollandiae. It is one of three closely related species of tropicbirds.
Four subspecies are recognised, but there is evidence of clinal variation in body size—with smaller birds in the north and larger in the south—and hence no grounds for subspecies. The British naturalist Walter Rothschild reviewed the described names and specimens in 1900 and concluded that the original use of P. erubescens was a nomen nudum. He concluded that populations of Lord Howe, Norfolk and Kermadec Islands belonged to a subspecies which he named P. rubicAuda ruba. He also classified P melanorhynchos and P novae hollanderiae as juveniles. The Australian amateurithologist Gregory Mathews then applied the name P. roseotinctus to Rothschild’s P ruba rubbeda roseoticaudus’s P ruba rubaicauda roseodia roseodica roseodora roseodra roseodja roseoderia roseodira roseodria roseodera roseodara roseodoria roseodorum roseodura roseodala roseodiar roseodor roseodar roseodoralis roseodialis. It was first recorded in 1781 by Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, who formally described the species in his Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux. In 1783 the Dutch naturalist Pieter Boddaert coined the binomial name Phaethon rubricauda in his catalogue of the Planches Enluminées.