Phaethon aethereus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Phaethontiformes Phaethontidae

Scientific Name: Phaethon aethereus Linnaeus, 1758
Common Name(s):
English Red-billed Tropicbird
French Phaéton à bec rouge
Taxonomic Source(s): Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
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.
Previously published Red List assessments:

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).

Countries occurrence:
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; 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
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:86300000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
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.

Trend Justification:  The population is suspected to be in decline owing to predation by invasive species and unsustainable levels of exploitation.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:3300-13000Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

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
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):10.1
Movement patterns:Full Migrant
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Phaethon aethereus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22696637A93575425. . Downloaded on 16 July 2018.
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