Red-billed Tropicbird: Slender, white, gull-like seabird with long white tail streamers. White back, finely barred black. Black eye stripe curves upward behind eye, almost meets at nape. Black primaries, red bill. Direct, rapid flight, pigeonlike, stiff, shallow wingbeats. The largest tropicbird.
Range and Habitat
Red-billed Tropicbird: Found in warm open ocean waters, often far from shore. Breeds on remote coastal islands or occasionally coastal mainland of Pacific Mexico and Caribbean. Occasional visitor off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Florida and California. Rare to Gulf Coast, one record for Arizona.
It disperses widely when not breeding and sometimes wanders far, including an amazing record from Great Britain. One was recently found in eastern Nova Scotia, Canada.
The Indian Ocean race, P. a. indicus, was at one time considered a full species, the Lesser Red-billed Tropicbird.
The Red-billed Tropicbird is also known as the Boatswain Bird.