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Hawaiian name: Koa’e-’ula
These birds are named for their elongated red tail streamers which can measure close to 14 inches. Their long sharply pointed wings provide aerodynamic efficiency when soaring on thermals.
You may see the Red-Tailed Tropicbirds gracefully dance on trade winds during the breeding season from March to October. While courting, the adults circle one another repeatedly in a backward dance motion.
Red-Tailed Tropicbirds’ length, including tail feathers, range from 36 to 42 inches with a wing span of 44 inches. They are plunge divers, feeding on fish and squid. Adults are white with the exception of black feathers above and around most of their eye, giving them a exotic look along with their red beak and two long red central tail feathers.
© 2001 Victoria McCormick
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