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Frigatebird

 

 

The Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens, fragata real) is the larger of the two species of frigatebirds found in the Galápagos, by about 50 cm. Male magnificent frigatebirds can be also be distinguished from the other species, the great frigatebird, by the purple sheen cast on his jet-black feathers and blue circles around the eyes. Females are slightly larger than males and also entirely black, except for her white breast and shoulders. Immature frigatebirds have a white head and neck and a pale beak.

 

Male frigatebirds are most recognizable by their red skin flaps, which they can inflate to football-sized balloons in about 25-minutes as a way to attract females. Males construct nests out of twigs in low trees or shrubs and wait in the nests with their pouches inflamed until a female arrives to copulate. Frigatebirds spend much of their time offshore, but return to island havens to mate, nest, and rear their young.

 

Since frigatebirds do not secrete enough oils to waterproof their feathers, they cannot swim, even though they are sea birds. As such, they often steal food from other birds, especially the excellent blue-footed booby fishermen, or force them to regurgitate the food. Often times, frigatebirds will raise their young near blue-footed booby colonies so that they have a food source nearby and readily available. Because of this behavior, frigatebirds are considered kleptoparasites or pirates.

Magnificent frigatebirds can be found on North Seymour, Punta Pitt (San Cristóbal), and Genovesa.

 

The Great Frigatebird (fregata menor, fragata común) is a bit smaller than the magnificent frigatebird and has a green sheen to its black feathers. It also has the same courtship and kleptoparasitistic behaviors.

Great frigatebirds can be found on North Seymour, Punta Suarez (Española), and Punta Espinosa (Fernandina).

 

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to The Galápagos Islands: Floreana Visitor Site: La Loberia/Sea Lions Area, Flightless Cormorant, White-Tail Damselfish, Planning your Galapagos Trip, Going to Galapagos: the Quito Airport, Swallow-Tailed Gull, Parrot Fish, Post Office Bay Visitor Site, Red-Footed Booby and Champion Islet Visitor Site.








04 Jun 2007




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