male Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) flying over Caye Caulker, Belize. Photo by Hal Brindley

Daily Creature 54: Magnificent Frigatebird

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male Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) flying over Caye Caulker, Belize. Photo by Hal Brindley

Magnificent Frigatebird

(Fregata magnificens)

The Magnificent Frigatebird is a tropical pirate. It will attack other birds in the air and force them to disgorge their food, then swoop down and catch it before it hits the ocean!

These birds have the longest wings relative to body weight of any bird. (7 foot wings, and weighing only 3 pounds!) This makes them one of the world’s ultimate soaring birds. They spend both day and night on the wing, catch all their food in flight (from the surface of the ocean when not pirating other birds) and never land in the water.

Males have a large red throat pouch that can be inflated during courtship displays. What a cool bird!

Photo above taken on Caye Caulker, Belize.

Magnificent Frigatebird in tree with inflated throat pouch. Half Moon Caye Nature Reserve, Lighthouse Reef, Belize © Hal Brindley
Male Magnificent Frigatebird with inflated throat pouch in Half Moon Nature Reserve, Lighthouse Reef, Belize.
Immature Magnificent Frigatebird on a light pole is Isla Holbox, Mexico.
Immature Magnificent Frigatebird on a light pole is Isla Holbox, Mexico.

 

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