This week’s patient is Bali, a juvenile the White Tailed Tropicbird.
Bali was found weak, exhausted and unable to fly on Terranora Road, Banora Point. He had likely been caught up in the recent storms, and exhausted himself trying to survive the strong winds. White-tailed tropicbirds are generally not found on the mainland, and it is uncommon for them to come into care. Bali is only the second white-tailed tropicbird admitted to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital since it started using ARS in 2010.
The Veterinarians examined Bali and conducted an X-ray and blood tests but could not find any injuries on his body, although he was in very poor condition. No medication was required but Bali was treated with supportive care of warmth, food and water.
Bali is expected to remain in the Hospital for a period of 1-2 weeks where he will continue ongoing rehabilitation and observation. He requires gaining a lot of weight and is currently being assist-fed fish. Once Bali is strong enough to self-feed, he will be moved to our Waterbird Rehabilitation Facility where he can build up his strength on his own before being released back into the wild.
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The white-tailed tropic-birds are a wide-spread sea bird. They can be found in tropical waters of the Southern Indian Ocean and Western and Central Pacific Ocean. They are also known to inhabit tropical and sub-tropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean as well as the Caribbean. The tropic-birds have adapted to be able to remain at sea for indefinite amounts of time and can sustain flight for long periods. When rest is required, their waterproof plumage allows them to float on water.
White-tailed tropic-birds feed mostly on flying fish but will occasionally eat squid and other crustaceans. On land, white-tailed tropic birds cannot walk and move in an extremely awkward manner. The bird will lie on its belly, stab its beak into the ground and pull itself forward in a slow, difficult shuffle.