Photographing the Galapagos – Frigatebirds


It’s almost impossible to sail the Galapagos and not see lots of these magnificent birds. Two species exist in the Galapagos, the Magnificent and the Great. The two species are nearly impossible to tell apart, the Great has a green tinge to it’s feathers and the female has a red eye ring. Since they don’t nest at the same rookeries and and since all of these birds were photographed on Genovese, I’m calling all of them, Great Frigatebird. They have several alternate names which I always find interesting. And I love the name Man of War and Pirate Bird. A distant relative of pelicans, Pelican Frigate is a name that is sometimes used.

From Wikipedia

The Great Frigatebird is a large seabird and, despite its name, it is the second largest frigatebird, after the Magnificent Frigatebird. The Great Frigatebird measures 85 to 105 centimetres (33 to 41 in) in length with long pointed wings of 205–230 cm (80.5–90.5 in) and long forked tails. The Great Frigatebird weighs from 640–1,550 g (1.4–3.4 lb). The frigatebirds have the highest ratio of wing area to body mass, and the lowest wing loading of any bird. This has been hypothesized to enable the birds to utilize marine thermals created by small differences between tropical air and water temperatures. Male Great Frigatebirds are smaller than females, but the extent of the variation varies geographically. The plumage of males is black with scapular feathers that have a green iridescence when they refract sunlight. Females are black with a white throat and breast and have a red eye ring. Juveniles are black with a rust-tinged white face, head, and throat.

Collective Nouns

Frigatebirds have a couple of collective nouns associated with them, Fleet and Flotilla. I am pretty happy with those, but would like to offer up a Plunder as an alternative. PLaying off the pirate background and that they often steal their food rather than catch their own.

Frigatebird Image gallery from the Galapagos

More Images and Prints

You can see all of my Frigatebirds and order prints…HERE.

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