Wildlife Costa Rica – 10 Interesting Facts About Magnificent Frigate Bird
The frigate birds are a family of seabirds and are also called frigate pelicans. It can be found breeding along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and in the Corcovado National Park.
1. They have long wings, tails and bills and the males have a red pouch that is inflated during the breeding season to attract a mate. Females are black, but have a white breast and lower neck sides, a brown band on the wings and a blue eye ring.
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2. The Magnificent Frigate bird is 1m long with a 2.15m wingspan.
3. They lack the ability to take off from water so they snatch prey from the ocean surface or beach using their long, hooked bills.
4. There have been cases of up to 30 year frigate birds.
5. Frigate birds are seasonally monogamous which means they only mate with one female per season. They also nest as a colony.
6. They lay one or two white eggs. Both parents take turns feeding for the first three months but then only the mother feeds the young for another eight months.
7. It takes so long to rear a chick that frigate birds cannot breed every year. It is typical to see young as big as their parents waiting to be fed.
8. They put on a spectacular courtship display. Males sit in groups with their throat sacs inflated, clattering their bills, waving their heads and quivering their wings. This is done to attract females flying overhead.
9. It is not an endangered species but populations appear to be declining mainly due to human destruction of habitat for housing and resorts and disturbance in colonies. Introducing predators on islands and over-fishing are also potential problems.
10. They spend days and nights on the air, with an average ground speed of 10 km/hour, covering 223 km before landing.