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Australian Wildlife

  Red-tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon rubricauda)





Red-tailed Tropicbird | Phaethon rubricauda photo
Red-tailed Tropicbird, on nest, Lord Howe Island, Australia

Image by Glen Fergus - Some rights reserved.    (view image details)



BIRD FACTS

Description
Tropicbirds look like large terns with strong down-curved bills. They have short legs set far back - this makes them shuffle on their belly when on land. The Red-tailed Tropicbird is white with a red or orange bill and black feet. It has two long bright red feathers in centre of the tail. Immatures are mottled brown with black bill and no red tail feathers.

Other Names
White-tailed Bosunbird

Size
86cm including 40cm tail

Habitat
oceans, oceanic islands and coasts

Food
dives like a Gannet for fish and squid

Breeding
Nest is a scrape in sheltered cliff cleft or under a bush on shore. Lays one pale egg heavily spotted with brown.

Range
Breeds on Raine Island, Herald Cays and Coringa Islets on the Great Barrier Reef.



Classification
Class:Aves
Order:Pelecaniformes
Family:Phaethontidae
Genus:Phaethon
Species:rubricauda
Common Name:Red-tailed Tropicbird

Relatives in same Genus
  White-tailed Tropicbird (P. lepturus)