Volume 45, No. 1

Search by author or title:

First coastal record of the White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus in Costa Rica


1HAS University of Applied Sciences, Department of Applied Biology, 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands (
2Costa Rica Bird Observatories, Edificio Administrativo del INBio, Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica
3US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, 1700 Bayview Drive, Arcata, California 95521


KOENRAADS, K. & ELIZONDO, P. 2017. First coastal record of the White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus in Costa Rica. Marine Ornithology 45: 57 - 58

Received 6 June 2016, accepted 16 December 2016

Date Published: 2017/04/15
Date Online: 2017/02/28
Key words: White-tailed Tropicbird, Costa Rica, new record


The White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus occurs in tropical oceans and is regularly recorded off the eastern coast of the United States and Mexico. In Costa Rica, the species is known from two records in the Pacific Ocean. Here, we present the first documented record of the species on the coast of continental Costa Rica. A single, after-first-cycle individual was observed flying north near Tortuguero, Costa Rica, on 12 April 2013. This is likely to be a wandering individual visiting the coast for feeding or a vagrant blown inland by high winds.


AOU (AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGISTS' UNION). 1983. Check-list of North American Birds, 7th edition. Washington, DC: American Ornithologists' Union.

DEL HOYO, J., ELLIOT, A. & SARGATAL, J. (Eds.). 1992. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 1: Ostrich to Ducks. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Editions. 

DUDZIK, K. 1996. First records of Pelecanus occidentalis (Aves: Pelecanidae) and Phaethon lepturus (Aves: Phaethontidae), at Isla del Coco, Costa Rica. Revista de Biologia Tropical 44: 303-304.

ELIZONDO, P. & SANDOVAL, L. 2010. Caribbean records of Long-tailed Jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus) from Costa Rica. Marine Ornithology 38: 61-62.

GARRIGUES, R., ARAYA-SALAS, M., CAMACHO-VARELA, P., ET AL. 2015. Lista Oficial de las Aves de Costa Rica – Actualización 2015. San José, Costa Rica: Comité de Especies Raras y Registros Ornitológicos de Costa Rica (Comité Científico), Asociación Ornitológica de Costa Rica. Zeledonia 19 (2). [Available online at: Accessed 2 June 2016].

JOHNSON, E.I., WOLFE, J.D., BRANDT RYDER, T. & PYLE, P. 2011. Modifications to a molt-based ageing system proposed by Wolfe et al. (2010). Journal of Field Ornithology 82: 422-424.

LE CORRE, M. & CEBC, P.J. 1999. Geographical variation in the White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus, with the description of a new subspecies endemic to Europa Island, southern Mozambique Channel. Ibis 141: 233-239.

LEE, D.S. & WALSH-McGEHEE, M. 1998. White-tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus). In: POOLE, A. (Ed.) The Birds of North America Online. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Lab of Ornithology. [Available online at: Accessed 24 February 2016]

OBANDO-CALDERÓN, G., CHAVES-CAMPOS, J., GARRIGUES, R., MARTÍNEZ-SALINAS, A., MONTOYA, M., RAMIREZ, O. & ZOOK, J. 2012. Lista Oficial de las Aves de Costa Rica. Actualización 2012. San José, Costa Rica: Comité Científico, Asociación Ornitológica de Costa Rica. Zeledonia 16 (2): 70-84.

PENNYCUICK, C.J., SCHAFFNER, F.C., FULLER, M.R., OBRECHT III, H.H. & STERNBERG, L. 1990. Foraging flights of the White-Tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus): Radiotracking and doubly-labelled water. Colonial Waterbirds 13: 96-102.

PYLE, P. 2008. White-tailed Tropicbirds. In: Identification Guide to North American Birds, part II: Anatidae to Alcidae. Point Reyes Station, CA: State Creek Press. pp. 291-293.

SANDOVAL, L., SÁNCHEZ, J. & ELIZONDO, P. 2008. Highland records of two seabirds in Costa Rica. Marine Ornithology 36: 73-74.

SCHREIBER, E.A. & BURGER, J. (Eds.). 2002. Biology of Marine Birds. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. pp. 67-68.

WOLFE, J.D., RYDER, T.B. & PYLE, P. 2010. Using molt cycles to categorize the age of tropical birds: an integrative new system. Journal of Field Ornithology 81: 186-194.

Search by author or title:

Browse previous volumes: