December 19, 2015 – Red-tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon rubricauda)

Requested by: @korrasamie

These seabirds are found across the Indian and Pacific Oceans, breeding on various islands within their range. They eat mostly squid and flying fish, hunting by hovering while looking down, then diving, using their wings to control their movements underwater. Though graceful in the air and water, they move awkwardly on land due to the position of their legs near the back of their bodies, sometimes even pulling themselves forward by plunging their beaks into the ground. Mostly solitary while at sea, they nest in colonies, performing aerial courtship displays that include as many as 15 birds flying in large circles. Males make a scrape in the ground under a plant or on a cliff and females lay a single egg. Both parents incubate the egg and feed the chick.

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