Red-billed Tropicbird, Phaethon aethereus. In Greek mythology, Phaethon (“shining” or “radiant”) was the son of Helios the sun god. The most influential extant version of Phaethon’s story tells of his doomed flight in his father’s Chariot of the Sun through the heavens. The name Phaethon seems appropriate for the nearly celestial Tropicbirds, and the species name aethereus, which loosely translates as “of or pertaining to the upper air, ethereal, heavenly, aloft”, seems doubly appropriate to their dipping flight and streaming white tail feathers.
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
©Two Loons/Erin Lehnert
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