F is for the Magnificent Frigatebirds
Do you have 3 minutes you can spare? ‘Cause that’s how long it will take you to watch this video of the Great and Magnificent Frigatebirds (also known as frigate pelicans) in their natural habitat in the Galapagos. It’s a lovely film, published by Quasar Expeditions.
Watch the males displaying (what a show!) during courtship, see wonderful closeups of their faces, and you’ll even get to see a little one hanging out with dad, waiting for breakfast to be served.
Magnificent Frigatebirds – Some Facts
- Great and Magnificent Frigatebirds and can be found across all tropical and subtropical oceans.
- Magnificent frigatebirds are 3 feet (1 meter) long, with a wingspan of 6 feet (2.15 meters).
- Frigatebirds have straight bills hooked at the tip, linear nostrils, a bare face, and fully webbed feet.
- The males have a red “Gular pouch” that is inflated during the breeding season to attract a female. They sit in groups with their throat sacs inflated, clattering their bills, waving their heads and quivering their wings.
Listen to this MacAulay Library audio of the interesting sounds they make.
Magnificent Frigatebirds – More Facts
- Female magnificent frigatebirds are black, with a white breast, lower neck sides, a brown band on the wings and a blue eye ring.
- Magnificent frigatebirds only mate with one female per season and they nest as a colony. Their nests are located in low trees or on the ground.
- One egg is laid each season. Both parents take turns feeding for the first three months. After that only the mother feeds the young for another eight months.
- It takes so long to rear a chick that magnificent frigatebirds cannot breed every year. It is typical to see young as big as their parents waiting to be fed.
- Frigatebirds snatch their food on the wing, off the surface of the ocean, or they steal food from other birds. They will also steal seabird chicks.
- Frigatebirds are not endangered, although populations seem to be declining due to human destruction of habitat for housing and resorts. Predators on the islands and over-fishing are also potential problems.
- Magnificent Frigatebirds have been known to live to the age of 30 years.