Phaethon aethereus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Phaethon aethereus
Species Authority: Linnaeus, 1758
Common Name(s):
English Red-billed Tropicbird
French Phaéton à bec rouge

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2012-05-03
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Calvert, R. & Symes, A.
Although this species may have a restricted range, it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be small, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
2012 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species ranges across tropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the north-west Indian Ocean and the eastern Pacific. Breeding colonies are found on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, off the Pacific coast of Mexico, in the Caribbean, Cape Verde, on islands in the southern Atlantic, and on the coasts of Yemen, Oman and Saudi Arabia (del Hoyo et al. 1992).

Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Barbados; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Saba, Sint Eustatius); Brazil; Cape Verde; Cayman Islands; Chile; China; Colombia; Cuba; Curaçao; Djibouti; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Ecuador (Galápagos); Egypt; El Salvador; Eritrea; French Guiana; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Haiti; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Maldives; Martinique; Mexico; Montserrat; Oman; Pakistan; Panama; Peru; Portugal; Puerto Rico; Qatar; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin (French part); Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); Somalia; Trinidad and Tobago; Turks and Caicos Islands; United Arab Emirates; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Virgin Islands, British; Virgin Islands, U.S.; Yemen
Angola (Angola); Bermuda; Costa Rica; French Polynesia; Gabon; Gambia; India; Israel; Jamaica; Jordan; Kuwait; Madagascar; Malaysia; Mauritania; Myanmar; Netherlands; Seychelles; South Africa; Spain (Canary Is.); Sri Lanka; Sudan; United Kingdom; United States (Hawaiian Is.); Viet Nam
Present - origin uncertain:
Bahrain; Belize; Benin; Cameroon; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Equatorial Guinea; Ghana; Guatemala; Guyana; Honduras; Iraq; Liberia; Nicaragua; Nigeria; Sao Tomé and Principe; Suriname; Togo; Western Sahara
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is estimated to number 5,000-20,000 individuals, roughly equating to 3,300-13,000 mature individuals.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found in tropical and sub-tropical seas and is mostly pelagic. It feeds mostly on small fish, especially flying fish, but will also take squid. Most prey is caught by plunge-diving but flying-fish are sometimes taken in flight. Breeding is seasonal in places but can be more or less continuous in others. It is loosely colonial, nesting in rocky crevices, or on the ground on small, remote oceanic islands preferentially on cliffs where take-off is easy. No regular migration is undertaken, although individuals can undergoe extensive dispersal out to sea (del Hoyo et al. 1992).

Systems: Terrestrial; Marine

Citation: BirdLife International 2013. Phaethon aethereus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 05 March 2015.
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