There are several sea-birds that visit St Eustatius, but the red-billed tropic bird, Phaethon aethereus, is the only one that nests on the island. Most of their nesting sites are currently located outside of the named Important Bird Areas (IBA) – The Quill and most of the Boven Northern Hills. Efforts are being made to extend the IBA.
“Nesting takes place in loose colonies, as they nest on a scrape found on a cliff face that is easy to take off from. A single egg is laid and is incubated by both sexes for about six weeks. Whether the egg hatches or not can be influenced by pollution and weather, although the last has a minimal effect on whether a chick fledges or not. After a chick fledges, the parents will usually stop visiting the nest and the chick will leave. Birds of all ages feed on fish and squid, catching them by diving from the air into the water. In some areas, introduced black and brown rats raid nests for eggs and young. Cats also threaten the red-billed tropic bird.” ~source. The IUCN ranks them as Least Concern (LC) but their population is decreasing. IF this continues, their ranking may change.
CNSI’s bird expert and terrestrial biologist Hannah Madden and STENAPA’s education and outreach officer Achsah Mitchell share news about St. Eustatius’s nesting population of Red-billed Tropic Birds.
Where do Red-billed Tropic birds migrate to between breeding seasons?
Due to the necessary precautions taken across the globe, we have decided to add an education activity for the young ones. Print and share beneath the related Facebook post. Follow us on our Facebook Page for more activities.
Download these colouring pages HERE.
Thank you Ton Winkelman and Johan Coops from Winkelman en Van Hessen and a big thank you to the Dutch nature funds for assisting STENAPA with the Nature Awareness Campaign.
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