Red-tailed Tropicbird is a bird of the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans.
In North America, they are only known by the rare vagrant that has
occasionally been sighted off the west coast of the United States, with one
sighting as far north as near Vancouver, Canada. Approximately half of
the world's population are thought to nest in the Hawaiian Islands chain,
with the largest concentrations of breeding birds found at Midway Atoll.
Habitat: Found on and around tropical islands of
the Pacific and Indian Oceans. When feeding, they are typically far
from land, and nearly always found in areas with water temperatures between
24 and 30 degrees Celsius.
Diet: Feeds heavily on fish, especially flying
fish, as well as squid and crustaceans.
Behavior: Feeds by flying over the water's surface
and plunge-diving when prey is spotted. They also will sometimes skim
the water's surface and capture prey in flight, especially when hunting for
Nesting: Breeds in isolated pairs or in small
nesting colonies, using either inaccessible cliffs and other rocky areas for
nesting, or sometimes nesting directly on the ground near the protection of
a shrub or small tree. A single egg is laid, placed either directly on the
ground, or in a shallow scrape that is sometimes lined with bits of
vegetation. Both parents will help to incubate the egg, and both
parents tend to the chick after hatching.
Song: Usually quiet away from the breeding
grounds. On breeding grounds, has a variety of throaty squawking and
Migration: Breeding occurs on select islands in
the tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans. They often stay relatively
close to breeding locations, but some birds wander widely throughout the
tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans, with individual birds occasionally found
thousands of miles from known breeding sites. They do have a
preference for warmer ocean waters, and any long-distance movements by
individual birds often follow warm ocean currents.