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Galápagos Islands Things to Do: 363 reviews and 1,041 photos

  Great Frigatebirds at Darwin Bay, Isla Genovesa
by MalenaN
 
  • Great Frigatebirds at Darwin Bay, Isla Genovesa - Galápagos Islands
      Great Frigatebirds at Darwin Bay, Isla Genovesa
    by MalenaN
  • Great Frigatebirds at Darwin Bay, Isla Genovesa - Galápagos Islands
      Great Frigatebirds at Darwin Bay, Isla Genovesa
    by MalenaN
  • Great Frigatebirds at El Barranco, Isla Genovesa - Galápagos Islands
      Great Frigatebirds at El Barranco, Isla Genovesa
    by MalenaN
  • Great Frigatebirds at El Barranco, Isla Genovesa - Galápagos Islands
      Great Frigatebirds at El Barranco, Isla Genovesa
    by MalenaN
  • Frigatebirds above M/S Cachalote - Galápagos Islands
      Frigatebirds above M/S Cachalote
    by MalenaN
 

There are two species of frigatebirds in the Galapagos Islands, the Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) and the Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor). There are about 1000 pairs of the Magnificent Frigatebird spread in 12 colonies, and a few thousand pairs of the Great Frigatebird, also in 12 colonies.

The frigatebirds are large seabirds with a black plumage and long, pointed wings. The tail is deeply forked and the bill long with a hook in the end. When flying it is difficult to tell the different species apart, but the Magnificent Frigatebirds are slightly larger and the males have a purple shine on their backs, while the Great Frigatebird males have a green shine on their backs. Female Magnificent Frigatebirds have a white breast and a blue eye-ring while the female Great Frigatebirds have a white throat and breast and a red/pink eye-ring.

The males have a very characteristic red chest pouch which they inflate like a balloon to attract females. They build a nest , blow up the pouch and call out to attract a female. The males also flap the wings during the courtship. I would have loved to see that while in the Galapagos.

Even tough the frigatebirds are considered to be seabirds they can’t dive or swim. They don’t have enough oil gland to make their feathers waterproof. They can pick up food from the surface, but very often they steal food from other birds, mostly boobies.

The frigatebirds are beautiful to see either when they fly above the boat or when they are in their nest, maybe with a downy little with chick next to it. The first four photos are of frigatebirds on Isla Genovesa. The 5th photo is taken from the boat Cachalote when we navigated between the two visitor sites on Isla Española, Gardner Bay and Punta Suárez.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Apr 12, 2012
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