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.
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: #http://www.aerc.eu/DOCS/Bird_taxa_of _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/SACCBaseline.html#.
Distribution and population
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).
The population is estimated to number 5,000-20,000 individuals, roughly equating to 3,300-13,000 mature individuals.
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to predation by invasive species and unsustainable levels of exploitation.
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).
del Hoyo, J.; Elliot, A.; Sargatal, J. 1992. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 1: Ostrich to Ducks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Fishpool, L. D. C.; Evans, M. I. 2001. Important Bird Areas in Africa and associated islands: priority sites for conservation. Pisces Publications and BirdLife International, Newbury and Cambridge.
Lee, D. S.; Walsh-McGehe, M. 2000. Population estimates, conservation concerns and management of Tropicbirds in the western Atlantic. Caribbean Journal of Science 36: 267-279.
Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species
Text account compilers
Calvert, R. & Symes, A.
IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Phaethon aethereus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/08/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/08/2014.
This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.
To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife
To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.
Additional resources for this species
|Current IUCN Red List category||Least Concern|
|Species name author||Linnaeus, 1758|
|Population size||3300-13000 mature individuals|
|Distribution size (breeding/resident)||24,500 km2|
|Links to further information|
|- Additional Information on this species|