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Tropicbirds: Phaethontidae

Tropicbirds And People

In the early 1900s many tropicbirds were killed and their feathers were sold for making hats. The long tail feathers are still used by native island peoples to decorate traditional clothing and headdresses. Some people eat tropicbirds, including their eggs and young. Tropicbirds attract ecotourists, people who travel to see wildlife and learn about the environment, and the money spent on boat tours, hotels, and food helps the local people who live near the birds.


Although tropicbirds live year round in the tropics, they occasionally show up in surprising places. If they get caught in a tropical storm or hurricane, they may end up far to the north or south of their usual areas. For example, after a hurricane, they might be found as far north as Massachusetts. Often the birds have been injured by the storm, and they need to be cared for by a veterinarian or wildlife officer before they can be sent south and set free.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsTropicbirds: Phaethontidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Tropicbirds And People, White-tailed Tropicbird (phaethon Lepturus): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS