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photo - Elizabeth Hein '08

photo – Elizabeth Hein ’08

One of the highlights of our trip to the Galapagos was seeing the great frigatebirds. I thought we would need binoculars and a good measure of luck to see them, but I quite literally stumbled into this glorious bird in the bushes along the short paths around the islands. I was standing about a foot away when I took the picture above.

Both the Magnificent Frigatebird and the Great Frigatebird can be found in the Galapagos. The large black birds have long wings, long hooked beaks and deeply forked tails. What you first notice though is the bright red gular pouch on the male’s throat. The male sits in a bush and inflates the pouch to attract potential mates. He also squawks a bit until a female shows up.

Frigate birds are sometimes called “man of war” birds because of  their pirate-like habits. They are excellent flyers, and feed by snatching up fish, squid, and scraps from the surface of the ocean – and, most notably, by stealing from other seabirds in flight. When feeding off the surface of the sea, only their beak will touch the water as frigatebird feathers are not oiled and waterproofed like most seabirds. If they get wet, their feathers get heavy and they drown.

Would you like to be part of Midge & Snig’s adventure in the Galapagos? Want to have your name (or any name you choose) in my next book? From now until the end of April, everyone who follows my blog, signs up for my newsletter, or leaves a comment, will be entered in a drawing for the chance to name the cruise ship featured in the book.

This post in part of the AtoZ Challenge. Please click on the sunflower AtoZ icon in the sidebar to go to the official list of participating blogs. This year my theme is the Galapagos Islands. I am in the process of writing the first of my Midge & Snig mystery series set in the islands. In my research, I have come across a plethora of interesting facts and images. The vast majority of my research won’t get included in the book, but it’s fun to share what I’ve learned with you all.