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Magnificent Frigate Bird

Fregata magnificens

Description:

The Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) was sometimes previously known as Man O'War or Man of War, reflecting its rakish lines, speed, and aerial piracy of other birds. It is widespread in the tropical Atlantic, breeding colonially in trees in Florida, the Caribbean and Cape Verde Islands. It also breeds along the Pacific coast of the Americas from Mexico to Ecuador including the Galápagos Islands. It has occurred as a vagrant as far from its normal range as the Isle of Man, Denmark, Spain, England, and British Columbia. The Magnificent Frigatebird is 100 cm (39 in) long with a 215 cm (85 in) wingspan. Males are all-black with a scarlet throat pouch that is inflated like a balloon in the breeding season. Although the feathers are black, the scapular feathers produce a purple iridescence when they reflect sunlight, in contrast to the male Great Frigatebird's green sheen. Females are black, but have a white breast and lower neck sides, a brown band on the wings, and a blue eye-ring that is diagnostic of the female of the species. Immature birds have a white head and underparts. This species is very similar to the other frigatebirds and is similarly sized to all but the Lesser Frigatebird. However, it lacks a white axillary spur, and juveniles show a distinctive diamond-shaped belly patch. The Magnificent Frigatebird is silent in flight, but makes various rattling sounds at its nest. This species feeds mainly on fish, and attacks other seabirds to force them to disgorge their meals. Frigatebirds never land on water, and always take their food items in flight. It spends days and nights on the wing, with an average ground speed of 10 km/h (6.2 mph), covering up to 223 km (139 mi) before landing. They alternately climb in thermals, to altitudes occasionally as high as 2,500 m (8,200 ft), and descend to near the sea surface. The only other bird known to spend days and nights on the wing is the Common Swift.

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AlbertKang
Spotted by
AlbertKang

Provincia de Galápagos, Ecuador

Spotted on Apr 30, 2012
Submitted on Apr 18, 2014

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