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Marveling at the Magnificent Frigate Bird

Marveling at the Magnificent Frigate Bird

As Fall approaches and our snowbirds are beginning their descent south, the frigate bird is leaving South West Florida to head further south to Central and South America. The Magnificent Frigate Bird arrives in the Pine Island Sound rookeries as the temperatures warm up to roost during the spring and summer months. Roost translates to resting and nesting.

What is so magnificent about the frigate is they can spend up to 90 percent of their lifetime soaring and flying by catching thermal updrafts. They can be in flight for over two months without landing, meaning they eat and sleep while soaring high above.

The magnificent frigate bird is also known as the pirate bird or thief bird. Because their anatomic structure is not conducive for them to land on the water, they have to pick up fish and crustaceans with their special hook beak while flying over the water. If their feathers get wet, this increases the odds of drowning. Feeding at times can be challenging, and they will practice what is called kleptoparasitism, stealing fish from other birds.

You can see these intriguing behaviors in action in the images below:

Frigate Bird
Female Frigate in flight
Frigate Bird 2
Two Frigates exemplifying kleptoparasitism

The Magnificent Frigate Bird is one of my favorite birds, and this past year was an active season with plenty of healthy birds to observe. Enjoy your vacation further south, and look forward to seeing you next spring. Now it’s time to say hello to the Snowbirds, like the white pelican, which is another avian favorite.

Ready to embark on your own birdwatching adventure or explore the beauty of Pine Island Sound and its avian residents? Contact Emmy Girl Charters today to learn more about our Private Water Taxi and Custom Charter services, designed to make your island experience truly unforgettable.

Picture of Captain Emily LoCicero

Captain Emily LoCicero

Master Captain Emily LoCicero specializes in sightseeing, nature, wildlife tours and private water taxi in Southwest Florida.

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