White-tailed Tropicbird is a beautiful bird of the tropical oceans.
They are found throughout many of the worlds tropical oceans, but those seen
in the North American part of their range breed in the Caribbean or Bermuda.
Outside of the breeding season, they may wander near much of the eastern
U.S. coast, and are even seen inland in the eastern U.S. on very rare
occasions when storm events occur. There are also breeding populations
in Hawaii in the United States, but despite being found in other locations
in the Pacific, they are not known to wander along the western coast of the
Habitat: Found on tropical islands for breeding,
usually rocky islands that provide ledges and cliffs for nesting.
Outside of the breeding season, they may range widely out to sea, although
nearly always over warmer waters.
Diet: Feeds mostly on fish, especially flying
fish, but will also feed on other small marine creatures such as squid, and
sometimes small crustaceans or other prey.
Behavior: Feeds by flying above the water and
plunging down when prey is spotted. They will also sometimes skim prey
from the surface of the water while still in flight.
Nesting: White-tailed Tropicbirds don't build
nests, but lay their single egg directly on bare ground on a rocky cliff
ledge or in a crevice in the rocks. Both the parents help to incubate
the eggs, and both parents help to feed and raise the chick upon hatching.
Song: The White-tailed Tropicbird does have a
harsh whiny call, but they are mostly silent away from breeding colonies.
Migration: They are permanent residents in parts
of their range, such as in and around breeding colonies in the Caribbean.
However, they are only summer residents in Bermuda, and are only likely to
be seen off the East Coast of the United States in the spring or summer.
In North America, most likely to be confused with the other two tropicbird
species that make occasionally visits to the area, the
and the Red-tailed Tropicbird.
Conservation Status: The White-tailed Tropicbird
is found across many of the world's tropical oceans, and despite indications
that populations have been in decline, there are currently no significant
threats to the species.
IUCN lists the White-tailed Tropicbird as a species of "Least Concern".