Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Frigate Birds of the Galapagos Islands - Great and Magnificent

Galapagos Islands Great and Magnificent Frigate Birds
Galapagos Islands Great and Magnificent Frigate Birds
Frigate Birds off of North Seymour Island
When they are flying above, Frigatebirds look like black beasts and it's difficult to see their coloration.  But, when they are on land, particularly in their nesting areas, they are really quite stunning in their stature, size and distinctive color displays.



There are two types of Frigate Birds in Galapagos: Great and Magnificent. Though they may be difficult to tell apart, there are some distinguishing features. 

This is what I usually rattle off,  "Generally speaking, Magnificents are larger. Juvenile Great Frigate Birds have yellow heads, Juvenile Magnificents have white heads.  Adult Greats have a green tinted feathers, Magnificents have purple.  Greats sound like a turkey; Magnificents like a drum." That's a lot to absorb and recall when you don't see them everyday as I do.


Thanks to a recent guest with an unusual mind, here's some help in remembering the difference between Great and Magnificent Frigate Birds.
 

Galapagos Islands Great and Magnificent Frigate Birds
Magnificent Frigate Birds with Royal Purple Plumage
Galapagos Islands Great and Magnificent Frigate BirdsStart with the premise that Magnificent Frigate Birds are like royalty.  They wear purple and white royal robes. Drums beat in their honor.  Regal and large, they walk into their court.




Juvenile Magnificent Frigate Bird

Now you can remember - like royalty, Magnificents are larger in stature and have purple feathers. Juveniles have white heads (like ermine on a royal's purple robes) and the adult sounds like a drum beating as royalty parades in a royal procession.









Great Frigate Bird with Green Plumage
Juvenile Great Frigate Brd
Everything else belongs to the Greats: smaller, green (for "Great"), yellow and sounds like a turkey!









Next week - it's "The Dating Game" - Frigate Bird style!

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