Foraging behavior and at-sea distribution of White-Tailed Tropicbirds in tropical ocean

We used miniaturized GPS loggers and site observations to access foraging patterns and nest behavior of the White‑tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus (WTTB), an endangered species at its South Atlantic breeding colony. Dual foraging pattern was observed with alternation between long and short foraging trips. Birds responsible for nest attendance engaged in short foraging trips with a mean distance from the colony of 25 ± 17 km, total distance covered of 79 ± 65 km and mean duration of 4.02 ± 5.28 hours. Birds flew by dawn and returned before dusk while partners were at sea for long foraging trips that ranged from four to 11 days, with mean maximum distance from the colony of 105 ± 47.48 km. Chicks were usually left alone for hours and chick predation by Land Crab Johngartia lagostroma, egg consumption by Goniopsis cruentata and intra-specific competition are suspected to be responsible for high chick mortality rates. 

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Campos L.F.A.S., Andrade A.B., Bertrand S., Efe M.A. 2018. Foraging behavior and at-sea distribution of White-Tailed Tropicbirds in tropical ocean. Brazilian Journal of Biology, 78(3), 556-563. DOI: 10.1590/1519-6984.173578



Tropicbird, GPS, dual foraging, behavior.


1 Laboratório de Bioecologia e Conservação de Aves Neotropicais – LABECAN, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde – ICBS, Universidade Federal de Alagoas, UFAL, Av. Lourival Melo Mota, s/n, Tabuleiro dos Martins, CEP 57072-900, Maceió, AL, Brazil 

2 Institut de Recherche pour Le Développement – IRD, Centre de Recherche Halieutique Méditerranéenne et Tropicale – CRHMT, UMR248MARBEC, Avenue Jean Monnet, BP 171, 34203, Sète Cedex, France