The Red-Billed Tropic-Bird

Richard ffrench


Around the coasts and islands of Tobago can be seen at most times of the year tropic-birds of the genus Phaethon. In this article the writer hopes to clear up some discrepancies in the existing literature on the ornithology of Tobago. Belcher and Smooker, Junge and Mees, and Devas all concur that the bird to be found in these parts is Phaethon lepturus-the Yellow-billed Tropic-bird. It seems possible that both the latter authorities were following Belcher and Smooker, whose ioentmcation of the species was based on that of de Dalmas at an earlier date. But Lewis Brown took if for granted that the bird was Phaetthon aethereus-the Red-billed Tropic-bird-, and his photographs go some way to substantiate this view, which the present writer holds to be correct.

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