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White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern

Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type   Average mass -


  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 80,300 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 14,400,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor Estimated 2009
Population trend Decreasing -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 11.1 - - -
Population justification: The global population is estimated to number > c.50,000 individuals (del Hoyo et al. 1992), while the population in Japan has been estimated at < c.50 individuals on migration (Brazil 2009).
Trend justification: The population is suspected to be in decline owing to predation by invasive species.

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Angola Vagrant Extant      
Anguilla (to UK) Native Extant      
Antigua and Barbuda Native Extant      
Australia Native Extant      
Bahamas Native Extant      
Barbados Native Extant      
Belize Native Extant      
Benin Unknown Extant      
Bermuda (to UK) Native Extant Yes    
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (to Netherlands) Native Extant      
Brazil Native Extant      
British Indian Ocean Territory Native Extant Yes    
Cameroon Native Extant      
Canada Native Extant      
Cayman Islands (to UK) Native Extant      
Chile Native Extant      
China (mainland) Native Extant      
Christmas Island (to Australia) Native Extant      
Cocos (Keeling) Islands (to Australia) Native Extant Yes    
Colombia Native Extant      
Comoros Native Extant      
Côte d'Ivoire Unknown Extant      
Cuba Native Extant      
Curaçao (to Netherlands) Native Extant      
Dominica Native Extant      
Dominican Republic Native Extant      
Equatorial Guinea Native Extant      
Fiji Native Extant      
French Guiana Unknown Extant      
French Polynesia Native Extant      
Gabon Unknown Extant      
Ghana Vagrant Extant      
Grenada Native Extant      
Guadeloupe (to France) Unknown Extant      
Guam (to USA) Native Extant   Yes  
Guatemala Native Extant      
Guyana Unknown Extant      
Haiti Native Extant      
Honduras Unknown Extant      
India Native Extant      
Indonesia Native Extant      
Jamaica Native Extant Yes    
Japan Native Extant      
Kenya Native Extant      
Liberia Vagrant Extant      
Madagascar Native Extant      
Malaysia Native Extant      
Maldives Native Extant Yes    
Marshall Islands Native Extant Yes    
Martinique (to France) Native Extant      
Mauritius Native Extant Yes    
Mayotte (to France) Native Extant      
Mexico Native Extant      
Micronesia, Federated States of Native Extant Yes    
Montserrat (to UK) Native Extant      
Mozambique Native Extant      
Myanmar Native Extant      
Nauru Native Extant      
New Caledonia (to France) Native Extant      
New Zealand Vagrant Extant      
Nigeria Unknown Extant      
Northern Mariana Islands (to USA) Native Extant Yes    
Palau Native Extant Yes    
Panama Vagrant Extant      
Philippines Native Extant      
Puerto Rico (to USA) Native Extant Yes    
Réunion (to France) Native Extant Yes    
São Tomé e Príncipe Native Extant      
Seychelles Native Extant Yes    
Sint Maarten (to Netherlands) Native Extant      
Solomon Islands Native Extant      
South Africa Native Extant      
Sri Lanka Native Extant      
St Helena (to UK) Native Extant Yes    
St Kitts and Nevis Native Extant      
St Lucia Native Extant      
St Martin (to France) Native Extant      
St Vincent and the Grenadines Native Extant      
Suriname Unknown Extant      
Taiwan (China) Native Extant      
Tanzania Native Extant      
Thailand Native Extant      
Timor-Leste Vagrant Extant      
Togo Unknown Extant      
Tonga Native Extant      
Trinidad and Tobago Native Extant      
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) Native Extant Yes    
United States Minor Outlying Islands (to USA) Native Extant      
USA Native Extant   Yes  
Vanuatu Native Extant      
Venezuela Unknown Extant      
Virgin Islands (to UK) Native Extant Yes    
Virgin Islands (to USA) Native Extant Yes    
Wallis and Futuna Islands (to France) Native Extant Yes    

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
American Samoa National Park of American Samoa - Ta'u site factsheet
American Samoa National Park of American Samoa - Tutuila site factsheet
American Samoa Tutuila Marine site factsheet
American Samoa West Tutuila site factsheet
Bahamas Booby Rocks and Pirates Bay site factsheet
Bahamas Conception Island site factsheet
Bahamas Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park site factsheet
Bahamas Graham's Harbour site factsheet
Bahamas North Atlantic Abaco Cays site factsheet
Bahamas Southern Abaco site factsheet
Bermuda (to UK) Cooper's Island and Castle Islands site factsheet
Christmas Island (to Australia) Christmas Island site factsheet
Dominica L'llet site factsheet
Dominica Point Des Foux site factsheet
French Southern Territories Europa site factsheet
Indonesia Pulau Manuk site factsheet
Mauritius Round Island site factsheet
Puerto Rico (to USA) Acantilados del Noroeste site factsheet
Seychelles Aldabra atoll site factsheet
Seychelles Aride island site factsheet
Seychelles Cousin island site factsheet
Seychelles Cousine island site factsheet
St Helena (to UK) Boatswainbird Island site factsheet
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) Fish Ponds and Crossing Place Trail, Middle Caicos site factsheet
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) Turks Bank Seabird Cays site factsheet
USA Kauai Forests and Uplands site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands major breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic major breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) major breeding
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) major non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Mesopelagic (200-1000m) major breeding
Marine Oceanic Mesopelagic (200-1000m) major non-breeding
Altitude 0 - 0 m Occasional altitudinal limits  


Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Pets Whole Adults and juveniles Wild International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Phaethon lepturus. Downloaded from on 10/07/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 10/07/2014.

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.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Phaethontidae (Tropicbirds)
Species name author Daudin, 1802
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 80,300 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species