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For the first time, locals from the African island Cabo Verde are collecting data on the habits of the migratory birds. They hope this will reveal key information about ocean health as well as a conservation roadmap.
Although their red bills, white plumage, and streamer tails make them a sight to behold, not much is known about red-billed tropicbirds. The migratory birds spend most of their time at sea and come to land when it is time to breed.
However, researchers now believe they have found the most important breeding site for red-billed tropicbirds in all of West Africa on the island of Sal in Cabo Verde. Local rangers working with Project Biodiversity, a Cabo Verdean conservationist organization, patrol rocky crevices high up in the cliffs to tag the birds and collect information for processing at the University of Barcelona. The data they collect is an important barometer for ocean health and will help establish a benchmark for saving the birds from manmade threats such as pollution, tourism, and introduced species like dogs and rats.
A film by Clare Richardson and Henning Goll