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© Emmanuel VIRIN

Tropicbird

The iconic bird of Reunion Island

It may not be an endemic species of Reunion Island, but the tropicbird is still one of the most iconic birds here! Also known under its true name, the Phaethon lepturus, this large marine bird can be easily recognised thanks to its white colour and long black markings. This bird is often seen in flight and likes to nest in the cliffs of Reunion Island’s wild south coast.

Tropicbirds are a protected species, so make sure you are discreet if you should see one !

Did you know ?

It is possible to catch a glimpse of a tropicbird inland on Reunion Island, mainly alongside rivers.

The legend of the tropicbird on Reunion Island

According to legend, the tropicbird is in fact a mermaid who fell in love with a triton… The two lovers are believed to have been transformed by an evil genie into birds: the legend says that they circle over the oceans looking for their long-lost kingdom under the sea. In reference to their former life, the long tail feathers are thought to resemble the mermaid’s tail!

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