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Magnificent Frigatebird

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Magnificent Frigatebird, Galapagos

Overview

Considered pirates of the sea, the Magnificent Frigatebird is known for its agressive behavior of persuing other species to steal prey. They fly in the air near nesting colonies, lying in wait for an unsuspecting seabird to return to feed its chick. With impressive aerial acrobatics, it chases the returning seabird, often grabbing the victim's tail feathers. Eventually the bird regurgitates its catch, whereupon the frigatebird dives, catching the fish before it hits the water. This frigatebird species is large, dark in coloration, has a large decurved beak, and is impossible to miss in the Galapagos Islands. During the breeding season, a large throat pouch turns red and can inflates with air to attract mates


Fun Fact

The name "frigatebird" was inspired by fast, maneuverable frigates, or man-o'-war ships, used by pirates centuries ago. * The breeding period of the Magnificent Frigatebird is incredibly long. Males and females incubate the eggs for approx. 56 days, and once hatched, chicks don't leave the nest until they are around 167 days old. Females continue to feed youths until they are one year old, even after they have left the nest. *Young frigatebirds have been observed practicing thievery, where youths holding sticks in their mouths chase each other. When one drops the stick, the other dives below to retrieve it.

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