Members of the family Phaethontidae are known as tropicbirds. Tropicbirds’ bills are large, powerful, slightly decurved, and brightly colored. Their heads are large, and their necks are short and thick. They have totipalmate feet (that is, all four toes are connected by a web). The legs of a tropicbird are located far back on their body, making walking impossible so that they can only move on land by pushing themselves forward with their feet.
Tropicbirds’ tails are predominantly white, with elongated central tail feathers. Tropicbirds frequently catch their prey by hovering and then plunge-diving, typically only into the surface layer of the water. They eat mainly fish, especially flying fish, and occasionally squid. There are one genus and two species of the family Phaethontidae known to occur in Peru. Photo: Red-billed Tropicbird. ©Tropical Birding.