Tokelau $5 Dollar Silver Proof Coin, 2012, UNC, Nature, Red Tailed Tropical Bird
Its unique plumage that makes the Redtailed Tropicbird a beautiful example of a Tropicbird. Two of the in total 16 flight feathers are strikingly blood-red in colour and are up to 35 cm long.
The otherwise usually white bird lives predominantly over tropical and subtropical seas and only comes ashore during the breeding season. From a height of up to 50 m it dives into the water headfirst and primarily catches fish and squid.
Because of its size, the blood-red beak also allows the birds to catch bigger fish. It catches sight of its food from great height at which the bird either hovers, evenly, almost monotonously beating its wings or in gliding flight.
During the breeding season the Tropicbirds venture ashore and lay a single egg in a small hole in the ground. The nesting site in caves and rock walls are aggressively protected by the parent birds from natural enemies such as ospreys or ravens. Also rats and feral domestic cats count amongst the bird’s biggest enemies.
Because the Red-tailed Tropicbird lives in the air, its legs are not well-developed and hardly carry its body-weight of about 800 g. Therefore, it struggles along very unusually: it supports itself on its breast and beak and presses itself forwards with its wings where it takes off from the ground again as soon as possible.
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