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Hey, check this out! I was sitting at the pool today, and this bird flew over my head. This is a Fridgatebird, and they are in abundance here in Belize.
High in the sky, you see these long, black, birds with an angular outline and a forked tail. The local name for this bird is "man o' war". I told you! The locals down here have given their own names to just about everything!
This bird is very light, with a wing span of two meters. The frigate bird has relatively little stress on its wings and thus is able to swoop and soar with great ease. However, its unusual design includes a serious flaws: it has difficulty in achieving both take-off and landing..........and it refuses to get its feet wet - while insisting on fulfilling its passion for fish. As a result of this, it steals from other birds which have already made an honest catch. It uses a sneaky technique, which we humans call "goosing". This bird will fly up behind another bird and goose it. Then the bird opens its beak in protest, drops its dinner, and the frigatebird then snatches it away.
All frigatebirds are black, while females and juveniles have white heads, and all have some white on their breast. During courtship, males display a brightt red gular pouch which balloons alarmingly large. I have pictures below to show you what I mean. Once the nestlings arrive, it matures slowly, and depends on its parents for a full half year. Even after this, these fledlings will return home for another fourteen months. Kind of like us kids, you can't get rid of us - until you have to push us out the nest.
Frigatebirds nest in colonies of up to 10,000 pairs! Bushes and low trees are favorite sites; a consistent wind, to assist in its comings and goings, is an important factor in choosing the location. Frigatebirds can be found throughout the cayes and along the coast; a notable colony is that which surrounds the booby birds on Half Moon Caye Island.