Red-tailed Tropicbird About 16 records for Southern California, mostly Aug – Oct, mostly in deep waters west of San Clemente Island.
2003: One seen 6 Sep on a Searcher pelagic trip.
2005: One was 291 km sw of San Nicolas Island on 28 Sep and another was 342 km wsw of San Miguel Island 9 Nov (McCaskie & Garrett, 2006).
2008: One photographed 17 Aug 155 n miles (248 km) wsw of Point Conception Santa Barbara by W. Terry Hunefeld from NOAA ship David Starr Jordan. Four seen equally far off the California coast during seabird surveys from the NOAA ship McArthur II in October and November 2008. Similar numbers had been recorded on a research scruise in 2005 when larger numbers were off California but outside the 200 n. mile limit (Pyle 2006). This species likely is regular far offshore (Western Birds: Vol 41, No 3).
Red-tailed Tropicbird 17 Aug 2008 (c) W. Terry Hunefeld 248 km wsw of Pt Conception
Red-billed Tropicbird A SoCal specialty, nesting off the coast of Baja, Mexico. Uncommon summer and fall visitor to So Cal waters, regularly seen on spring and fall trips off San Diego e.g. five on 26 Apr 2003; seven on 23 Apr 2004.
2005: One seen from San Clemente Island 4 Jul (NAB, McCaskie & Garrett). Three 30 n.mi. west off San Diego at "the Ridge" 7 Sep (Evans, 2005).
2006: 2 near the "Mushroom" 29 April (NAB, McCaskie & Garrett). 5 at San Clemente Island 29 Jul and one 16 km s. of there 30 Jul (NAB, McCaskie & Garrett). 2 seen 4 Sep off San Diego with the closest being 19 km W of LaJolla, and three on 21 Oct within one km east of San Clemente Island.
2007: One on 16 Apr 2007 (Searcher Trip Reports). One seen 19 May near San Clemente Island (pers comm, L.Sheffield). One 24 n mi offshore San Diego in Mex waters 25 Jul (Povey, SDBirds). Three 50 km off San Diego 31 Aug; two individuals suspected, warm water – 70.3 degrees (Hunefeld, SDBirds) (NAB, McCaskie & Garret). Three 27-34 km off Point Loma San Diego 4 Sep (Povey, SDBirds; NAB, McCaskie & Garret).
2008: Four off San Diego from Grande 20 Jul were over water where undoubtedly regular at this time of year (NAB, McCaskie & Garret). 2 off San Diego from Grande 4 Oct . Six west of the Channel Islands during the fall of (NAB, McCaskie & Garret) including 2 from Searcher 3 Sep. 2 from Grande in deep water 90-130 n.mi. w of San Diego on 4 Oct and two again on 2 Nov.
2009: One from Grande off San Diego 10 May. One from Condor Express off Santa Barbara 25 Jul. 5 from Grande 11 Oct.
Many sightings contain hyperlinks tied directly to detailed Trip Reports. More frequent sightings may not contain hyperlinks, but still have detailed trip reports with more documentation and locations; click on Trip Reports in the left column.
NAB, Erickson, et al: North American Birds - Baja Mexico reports, edited by Erickson, et al. Published quarterly by the American Birding Association.
NAB, McCaskie & Garrett: North American Birds - Southern California reports, edited by Guy McCaskie and Kimball Garrett. Published quarterly by the American Birding Association.
Status and distribution data (c) 2008 - 2011 W. Terry Hunefeld
This site is owned and operated by the Buena Vista Audubon Society 2202 South Coast Highway, Oceanside, CA 92054 (c) 2007-2011 Buena Vista Audubon Society, Oceanside, California. All rights reserved. All photos copyrighted.