White-tailed Tropicbird

Scientific Name: Phaethon lepturus
Malay Name: Camar-Pita Paruh Kuning
Chinese Name: 白尾鹲

Found from tropical and subtropical Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans to the Caribbean.

Polytypic. Subspecies are: catesbyi, ascensionis, lepturus, europae, fulvus, dorotheae.

Local Subspecies: fulvus

Size: 38-41 cm

Adult is distinctively looking with whitish overall plumage, very long central tail feathers, diagonal black band across upperwing coverts, blackish patch at outer primaries, black mask and yellowish bill. Ssp. fulvus which breeds on Christmas Island has a golden wash to its white plumage and is also known as the Golden Bosunbird. Juvenile lacks the central tail feathers and black diagonal band and has black bars/scales on mantle.

Habitat: Open seas.

Behaviour/Ecology: Wanders widely outside breeding season.

Local Status: Very rare vagrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2020)

Location: Only one confirmed record (ssp. fulvus) of a solitary bird rescued from Pioneer Sector at Tuas on 22 June 2015. There were also two unconfirmed sightings of Tropicbird in Singapore: at Seletar in 1963 and at Serangoon Estuary in 1986.


External Links:
Conservation Status: IUCN Red List Page
Photos: Oriental Bird Images
Sound Recordings: xeno-canto Link
Wikipedia Entry: Wikipedia Link

BirdLife International. (2020). Phaethon lepturus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020. Downloaded on 2 September 2021
Lim, K. S., Chia, A., Yong, D. L., & Chew, J. (2009). The Avifauna of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore).
Robson, C. (2008). A Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia. New Holland Publishers.
Yong, D. L. (2015, June 24). The first record of a White-tailed Tropicbird for Singapore? Singapore Bird Group Blog. Https://singaporebirdgroup.wordpress.com/2015/06/23/the-first-record-of-a-white-tailed-tropicbird-for-singapore/.