Birds of Kīlauea Point
White-tailed Tropicbird / Phaethon lepturus dorotheae/ Koa‘e kea
Nesting habitat is coastal cliffs.
Typically solitary feeders though sometimes seen in pairs. With folded wings, koa‘e kea hit the water and completely submerge to seize and swallow prey before flight. Prey consists of fish and squid.
Courting birds fly in parallel, with streamers from bird above turned downward toward mate. Fly together in shallow glides. Begin nesting at 4 years of age.
Nest year round with peak activity from March through October. Primarily nest in a scratched out hollow with a cliff crevice. At Kīlauea Point, birds nest in cavities of tree limbs, root bases of ironwood trees and/or other secluded spots.
A single egg is laid and incubated (40-42 days) by both adults. Lacks brood patch. Average incubation shift lengths range from about 4-8 days. Chicks are tightly brooded for the few days after hatching. Unlike other Pelican relatives, adults regurgitate food by putting their bills down the gaping chick's throat. Average chick fledge times vary between 10-12 weeks.