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Tropicbird

Tropicbird Facts

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPhaethontiformes
FamilyPhaethontidae
GenusPhaethon
Scientific NamePhaethon
TypeBird
DietCarnivore
Size (L)75cm - 100cm (30in - 40in)
Wing Span95cm - 115cm (37in - 45in)
Weight0.3kg - 0.7kg (0.6lbs - 1.5lbs)
Top Speed48km/h (30mph)
Life Span10 - 16 years
LifestyleFlock
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
ColourBlack, White, Brown,Yellow
Skin TypeFeathers
Favourite FoodFish
HabitatTropical islands and cliffs
Average Clutch Size1
Main PreyFish. Squid, Flying Fish
PredatorsDogs, Cats, Stouts
Distinctive FeaturesLong pointed beak and large body size

Tropicbird Location

Map of Tropicbird Locations

Tropicbird

The tropicbird is a large species of sea bird found nesting on the warmer cliffs and islands that dot our oceans. Despite having been thought to be closely related to other large sea birds such as pelicans, boobies and frigatebirds, the tropicbird has been recently classified in a group of it's own.

There are three different species of tropicbird found throughout the tropical Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. The exact range and location depends on the species of tropicbird, although all three species can be found in parts of all the major oceans.

Tropicbirds are large-sized birds ans can grow to up to a meter in height. The three different tropicbird species are the red-billed tropicbird, the red-tailed tropicbird and the white-tailed tropicbird, all of which are generally white in colour with long tail feathers, and thin spindly legs.

Tropicbirds are known to catch their prey by plunging into the surface of the water in order to snap up their dinner. Away from their breeding colonies, tropicbirds are generally solitary animals usually seen hunting on their own or in a pair.

Like other sea birds, tropicbirds are carnivorous animals as they feed primarily on fish. The flying fish is a favourite meal for the tropicbird along with the occasional squid or crustacean. The method of hunting used by tropicbirds is known as plunge-diving, and is common practise for many sea birds.

Due to their large size and airborne lifestyle, the tropicbird has few (if any) natural predators in it's environment. The primary predators of the tropicbird are small carnivores such as dogs, stouts and cats that have been introduced to areas by humans, and generally hunt the smaller tropicbird chicks.

Tropicbirds nest in dips, crevices and holes on the ground in large breeding colonies, usually found on cliff tops or small tropical islands. The female tropicbird lays a single egg, which hatches after being incubated by both parents for about 6 weeks. Both the male and female tropicbirds then feed their chick together until it fledges (flies away from the nest), at around 3 months old.

Today, tropicbird populations still seem to be thriving as they have not come under threat from drastic habitat loss. However, the arrival of non-native species to islands and increasing levels of water pollution, both have an affect on tropicbird populations.