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Red-billed tropicbird, Phaethon aethereus

Red-billed tropicbird, Phaethon aethereus

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Red-billed tropicbird, Phaethon aethereus

Red-billed tropicbird, Phaethon aethereus (Ethereal tropic bird). Handcoloured copperplate engraving drawn and engraved by Richard Polydore Nodder from William Elford Leachs Zoological Miscellany, McMillan, London, 1815

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Media ID 23210142

© Florilegius/Mary Evans

Elford Ethereal Leach Miscellany Nodder Phaethon Polydore Red Billed Tropic Tropicbird Zoological Aethereus


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This exquisite handcoloured copperplate engraving showcases the ethereal beauty of the Red-billed Tropicbird, Phaethon aethereus. The image, drawn and engraved by the skilled hand of Richard Polydore Nodder, was first published in William Elford Leach's Zoological Miscellany in 1815. The Red-billed Tropicbird is a tropical seabird, distinguished by its long, slender wings and distinctive red bill. The Red-billed Tropicbird is a pelagic species, found in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. They are known to soar high above the waves, using their long wings to glide effortlessly across the ocean surface. Their elongated central tail feathers are used for balance while in flight, and they are also used as a display feature during mating rituals. The Red-billed Tropicbird is an important species in its ecosystem, feeding primarily on squid and fish. They are also an important food source for larger predators, such as sharks and albatrosses. Despite their wide distribution and relatively large population size, they are considered near threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to habitat loss and bycatch in fishing nets. This stunning illustration provides a glimpse into the natural history of the Red-billed Tropicbird, capturing its grace and elegance in intricate detail. The handcolouring adds depth and vibrancy to the image, making it a true work of art that transports us to the tropical oceans where this remarkable bird makes its home.

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