Red-tailed Tropicbird

The Red Tailed Tropicbird is similar to the more common White-tailed Tropicbird but is bigger, with a pure white body, red bill and a very thin red tail, which is not always visible in flight.

Red-tailed tropic bird © Peter Chadwick
Red-tailed tropic bird and chick © Mattieu Le Corre

During the breeding season, the feathers of some birds take on a pinkish flush.  The Red-tailed Tropicbird is very rare as a breeding species on the granitic islands, perhaps because it is unable to coexist with rats and cats, or because of human persecution in the past.

Red-tailed Tropicbirds spend most of their life far out to sea, except when they come in to land to breed.


Scientific name: Phaethon rubricauda
Wingspan: 104 – 119 cm  
Population in the Seychelles: Only 3-5 PAIRS in the granitic islands; many more (over 2,000 PAIRS) at Aldabra
World distribution: Throughout Indian Ocean and Pacific
Distribution in Seychelles: Breeds on Aride only
Nest: On cliffs, under a granite overhang, One egg laid.
Diet: Flying fish
Identification: A white seabird with thin re tail, and an obvious red beak

See more

Species Fact Sheet at BirdLife Data Zone

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Since 1998.

Seychelles Nature, Green HealthClimate Change, Biodiversity Conservation & Sustainability Organisation

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