tropic bird

any of several web-footed seabirds of the family Phaethontidae, chiefly of tropical seas, having white plumage with black markings and a pair of greatly elongated central tail feathers.
Also, tropicbird. Also called boatswain bird.
[1675-85]

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      any member of three seabird species that constitute the family Phaethontidae (order Pelicaniformes). Tropic birds are characterized by pairs of streaming central tail feathers, which may be as long as the bird's body. Sailors call them marlin-spikes and bosun birds. Tropic birds have satiny white plumage, sometimes tinged with pink or orange, and black markings across the eyes and on the wings. They nest in island colonies, usually on cliffs, and plunge into the water for fish or squid. The single grayish-speckled egg, laid on bare ground, is incubated by both parents for about a month; the young are fully fledged about 10 weeks later.

      Largest of the three species is the red-tailed tropic bird, Phaethon rubricauda (to 50 centimetres [20 inches], excepting the red streamers), of the Indian and Pacific oceans.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tropic bird — Tropic Trop ic, a. Of or pertaining to the tropics; tropical. [1913 Webster] {Tropic bird} (Zo[ o]l.), any one of three species of oceanic belonging to the genus {Pha[ e]thon}, found chiefly in tropical seas. They are mostly white, and have two… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tropic bird — n. any of a family (Phaethontidae) of tropical pelecaniform sea birds characterized by white plumage with black markings and a pair of long tail feathers …   English World dictionary

  • tropic bird — noun mostly white web footed tropical seabird often found far from land • Syn: ↑tropicbird, ↑boatswain bird • Hypernyms: ↑pelecaniform seabird • Member Holonyms: ↑Phaethon, ↑genus Phaethon * * * …   Useful english dictionary

  • tropic bird — bird that lives in hot regions …   English contemporary dictionary

  • tropic bird — trop′ic bird or trop′ic•bird n. orn any of several web footed seabirds of the family Phaethontidae, chiefly of tropical seas, having white plumage with black markings and a pair of greatly elongated central tail feathers • Etymology: 1675–85 …   From formal English to slang

  • tropic bird — noun Date: circa 1671 any of a genus (Phaethon of the family Phaethontidae) of web footed birds that are related to the pelicans, are found chiefly in tropical seas often far from land, and have mostly white satiny plumage marked with a little… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • tropic bird —   Koa e, ula, koa e ula, koa e kea.   See sayings, kahakō, pāuma, cliff …   English-Hawaiian dictionary

  • red-billed tropic bird — noun : a tropic bird (Phaëton aethereus) * * * red billed tropic bird «REHD BIHLD», a white tropic bird with a bright orange red bill. It is found throughout the warmer parts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans …   Useful english dictionary

  • red-tailed tropic bird — noun : a tropic bird (Phaëton rubricauda) * * * red tailed tropic bird, a tropic bird of the Indian and Pacific oceans, with a white body tinted with pink and a reddish tail …   Useful english dictionary

  • white-tailed tropic bird — noun : a tropic bird (Phaëthon lepturus) that has a yellow bill and white tail …   Useful english dictionary

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