White-tailed Tropicbird

This species is defined as a Review Species . Please submit your records of this species via our record submission page .

Scientific Name: Phaethon lepturus

Malay Name: Camar-Pita Paruh Kuning

Chinese Name: 白尾鹲

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

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

Local Subspecies: fulvus

Size: 38-41 cm

Identification: 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: Vagrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2020)

Past records in our database:

Showing only accepted records. Records currently under review are also not displayed. For a full list, click here.

Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):


BirdLife International. (2020). Phaethon lepturus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-3.RLTS.T22696645A163887639.en. Accessed on 1 January 2023

Lim, K. S. (2009). The Avifauna of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore).

Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

Yong, D. L. (2015). The first record of a White-tailed Tropicbird for Singapore? Nature Society (Singapore) Bird Group. Retrieved December 25, 2021 from https://singaporebirdgroup.wordpress.com/2015/06/23/the-first-record-of-a-white-tailed-tropicbird-for-singapore/.