Photo: Robert L. Pitman/Vireo

Red-tailed Tropicbird

Phaethon rubricauda

This graceful seabird ranges widely in the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans, and may be seen by visitors to Hawaii. In North American waters it has been found far off the coast of California, where it may be a rare but regular visitor more than 100 miles from land. Even more than its relatives, it seems to wander great distances away from its nesting islands.
Family Tropicbirds
This graceful seabird ranges widely in the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans, and may be seen by visitors to Hawaii. In North American waters it has been found far off the coast of California, where it may be a rare but regular visitor more than 100 miles from land. Even more than its relatives, it seems to wander great distances away from its nesting islands.
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  • adult
  • adult



Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds

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Songs and Calls
Usually silent at sea.
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
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