Phaethon lepturus | white-tailed tropicbird | koaʻe kea


Other Names: koae kea, koa'e kea

Koaʻe kea, with their long white tail feathers, is a graceful flyer over the ocean. With a wingspan of about 3-feet, they are brilliant white with black streaks around its eyes and along wing edges. Feeding on fish and squid throughout the day, they nest and roost in the security of cliff faces and rock crevices. The long tail feathers were highly valued by Hawaiian artisans, especially in the making of kahili, or feather standards that surrounded royalty.