Red billed tropicbird flying over the sea

Red-billed tropicbird

Red-billed tropicbirds are the largest of the the three tropicbird species, and are named after their curved, crimson bills. These tropical seabirds spend most of their time over the open water (pelagic), only coming on to remote oceanic islands to breed and lay a single egg. Red-billed tropicbirds fly high over the water before diving down to catch fish and squid.

Scientific name: Phaethon aethereus

Rank: Species

Common names:

Boatswain bird

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Map showing the distribution of the Red-billed tropicbird taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Red-billed tropicbird can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, North America. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Red-billed tropicbird distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Birds
  5. Pelicans, cormorants and gannets
  6. Phaethontidae
  7. Phaethon
  8. Red-billed tropicbird

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