White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus


Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Christidis, L. and Boles, W.E. 2008. Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
SACC. 2005 and updates. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
Turbott, E.G. 1990. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2018 Least Concern
2016 Least Concern
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 -
Extent of occurrence (EOO)

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 161,000,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 229,000,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -
Population and trend
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor estimated 2009
Population trend Decreasing suspected -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulations - - -
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 Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
American Samoa N Extant Yes
Angola V Extant
Anguilla (to UK) N Extant
Antigua and Barbuda N Extant
Australia N Extant
Bahamas N Extant
Barbados N Extant
Belize N Extant
Benin U Extant
Bermuda (to UK) N Extant Yes
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (to Netherlands) N Extant
Brazil N Extant
British Indian Ocean Territory N Extant Yes
Cameroon N Extant
Canada N Extant
Cayman Islands (to UK) N Extant
Chile N Extant
China (mainland) N Extant
Christmas Island (to Australia) N Extant
Cocos (Keeling) Islands (to Australia) N Extant Yes
Colombia N Extant
Comoros N Extant
Cook Islands N Extant Yes
Côte d'Ivoire U Extant
Cuba N Extant
Curaçao (to Netherlands) N Extant
Dominica N Extant
Dominican Republic N Extant
Equatorial Guinea N Extant
Fiji N Extant Yes
French Guiana U Extant
French Polynesia N Extant
Gabon U Extant
Ghana V Extant
Grenada N Extant
Guadeloupe (to France) U Extant
Guam (to USA) N Extant Yes
Guatemala N Extant
Guyana U Extant
Haiti N Extant
Honduras U Extant
India N Extant
Indonesia N Extant
Jamaica N Extant Yes
Japan N Extant
Kenya N Extant
Liberia V Extant
Madagascar N Extant
Malaysia N Extant
Maldives N Extant Yes
Marshall Islands N Extant Yes
Martinique (to France) N Extant
Mauritius N Extant Yes
Mayotte (to France) N Extant
Mexico N Extant
Micronesia, Federated States of N Extant Yes
Montserrat (to UK) N Extant
Mozambique N Extant
Myanmar N Extant
Nauru N Extant
New Caledonia (to France) N Extant
New Zealand V Extant
Nigeria U Extant
Northern Mariana Islands (to USA) N Extant Yes
Palau N Extant Yes
Panama V Extant
Philippines N Extant
Puerto Rico (to USA) N Extant Yes
Réunion (to France) N Extant Yes
São Tomé e Príncipe N Extant
Seychelles N Extant Yes
Sint Maarten (to Netherlands) N Extant
Solomon Islands N Extant
South Africa N Extant
Sri Lanka N Extant
St Barthelemy (to France) N Extant
St Helena (to UK) N Extant Yes
St Kitts and Nevis N Extant
St Lucia N Extant
St Martin (to France) N Extant
St Vincent and the Grenadines N Extant
Suriname U Extant
Taiwan, China N Extant
Tanzania N Extant
Thailand N Extant
Timor-Leste V Extant
Togo U Extant
Tonga N Extant
Trinidad and Tobago N Extant
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) N Extant Yes
United States Minor Outlying Islands (to USA) N Extant
USA N Extant Yes
Vanuatu N Extant
Venezuela U Extant
Virgin Islands (to UK) N Extant Yes
Virgin Islands (to USA) N Extant Yes
Wallis and Futuna Islands (to France) N Extant Yes

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

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 non-breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic major breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major breeding
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) major non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) major breeding
Marine Oceanic Mesopelagic (200-1000m) major non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Mesopelagic (200-1000m) major breeding
Altitude   Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Climate change & severe weather Storms & flooding Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Causing/Could cause fluctuations Low Impact: 5
Species disturbance, Ecosystem degradation, Reduced reproductive success
Pollution Industrial & military effluents - Oil spills Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Species mortality
Residential & commercial development Housing & urban areas Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Ecosystem degradation

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Phaethon lepturus. Downloaded from on 21/01/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 21/01/2020.