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Red-Tailed Tropicbird or Silver Bosun

Red-Tailed Tropicbird or Silver Bosun
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-04-25
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, Canon 24-70 mm f 2,8 L-USM
Exposure: f/4, 1/125 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Christmas Island, Tropicbirds [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2010-02-14 8:23
Viewed: 6414
Points: 32
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Today I have chosen to post another tropicbird - a week ago I posted the Red-billed Tropicbird nesting on Little Tobago in the West Indies. Today I am posting a Red-tailed Tropic bird which looks similar but has a red tail (look carefully). This is a registered nest - i.e. you can visit it with a guide. The shot is a bit cramped - but so are the nests - this was squashed under a low bush.

The Red-tailed Tropicbird, Phaethon rubricauda, is a seabird that nests across the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the rarest of the tropicbirds, yet is still a widespread bird that is not considered threatened. It nests in colonies on oceanic islands.

The Red-tailed Tropicbird looks like a stout tern, and hence closely resembles the other two tropicbird species. It has generally white plumage, often with a pink tinge, a black crescent around the eye and a thin red tail feather. It has a bright red bill and black feet.

Red-tailed Tropicbirds nest on oceanic islands in large colonies from the Hawaiian Islands to Easter Island and across to Mauritius and Reunion Island. They disperse widely after breeding, birds ringed in Hawaii have been recovered as far away as Japan and the Philippines. They range from the Red Sea to New Zealand and Chile.

When breeding they mainly choose coral atolls with low shrubs, nesting underneath them (or occasionally in limestone cavities. They feed offshore away from land, singly rather than in flocks. They are plunge-divers that feed on fish, mostly flying fish, and squid.

The Territory of Christmas Island is a territory of Australia in the Indian Ocean. It is located 2,600 kilometres (1,600 mi) northwest of the Western Australian city of Perth, 500 km (310 mi) south of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, and 975 km (606 mi) ENE of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

It has a population of 1,403 residents who live in a number of "settlement areas" on the northern tip of the island: Flying Fish Cove (also known as Kampong), Silver City, Poon Saan, Golf Course and Drumsite.

The island’s geographic isolation and history of minimal human disturbance has led to a high level of endemism amongst its flora and fauna, which is of significant interest to scientists and naturalists.

Phosphate, deposited as guano, has been mined on the island for many years. 63% of its 135 square kilometres (52 sq mi) is an Australian national park. There exist large areas of primary rainforest.

nglen, roges, CeltickRanger, MMM, anemone, nasokoun, jaycee, xTauruSx, eng55, horias, boreocypriensis, maurydv, ramthakur, siggi, jusninasirun has marked this note useful
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To jaycee: Standing upJamesp 1 02-14 22:42
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2010-02-14 8:27]

Hi James. I have to say i had not seen the red tail until i read the interesting notes. Its so long and fine .You were able to take this Red-Tailed Tropicbird with good datail and natural colours. I like your low POV on a level with the bird. well taken TFs.Nick..

hello James

beautiful photo of the Red-tailed Tropicbird with his long red tail,
fine POV, fine focus sharpness and details, you managed
very well your camera to obtain details of the white plumage,



  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2010-02-14 11:56]

Hi Jame
Nice presentaion.Good POV and nice natural pose.Beautiful natural colors and lovely pose.
TFS Michel

Hi James. Excellent and wonderful photo.. Details and composition are nice..
Best regards

hello James,
fine scene and beautiful photo output of this interesting bird!
keep photographing! TFS

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2010-02-14 15:31]
  • [+]

Hi James,

The first thing I do when I click on one of your pictures is to see what part of the world you are taking us to. I love your tropic birds and yes, I see the red tail. A very pretty bird with lovely white feathers. The black eye is amazing. I would love to see what he looks like standing up.


Hello James, great shot of this lovely bird with nice composition in her nest.
TFS and regards,

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2010-02-14 22:15]

Hi James,
Very nice bird.Well caught,framed and composed.
This speice i'd never seen before.Have a great
Thanks for posting..

  • Great 
  • horias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 837 W: 58 N: 2084] (11033)
  • [2010-02-15 0:04]

Hi James

What a interesting capture this lovely white bird.
Great details and colors.

Hi Bro James,

An expertly taken capture of this pretty white beauty from great POV with wonderful clarity, great DOF and delightful composition.
TFS and have a nice day MF!


Dear James!

Many thanks for this interesting and pleasant posting. I didn't know that species and I'm glad to learn about it through your picture and your notes.

Kind regards


Hello James,
another splendid capture of exotic bird from you, superb sharpness and very beautiful natural colours, excellent POV and composition.
Best regards

The red tail of this bird is remarkably long, James, but you have to look for it; it's so thin.
A great image from your 2006 archives. Such species of tropicbirds are rarely seen on TN.
Thanks for sharing it and all the best.

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2010-02-15 11:38]

Hello James,
A lovely close view of this Tropicbird,in beautiful light. Great sharpness and lovely colours.
Best regards Siggi

Hi James.

This is really amazing. The capture is really sharp with very well exposed details of the plumage. Excellent work with the camera in getting this in good framing and exposure.

Thanks for sharing and best regards.

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-03-04 5:55]

Hi James,
what a nature shot. The bird in its own nest resting with the color contrast so well shown.
The red beak stands out wonderfully on the white plumage and the dark surrounding.
nice composition.


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