Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens)

The Magnificent Frigatebird is the largest of the Fregata species, and the only one commonly seen in Costa Rica. They have long wings, which enable them to fly without effort on air currents, which means these birds are usually seen flying, not perched. Their streamlined form distinguishes them from other sea birds, even when seen just as a passing silhouette. The female has a white head on an otherwise black body, and the definitive mark for the male is the red pouch, which they inflate when attracting females during the mating season.

The pictures below were taken during a boat tour in the Tárcoles River, on June 18th, 2017. The tour was guided by Randall Ortega, an expert birder and owner of Mangrove Birding Journey.


Five Frigate Birds and two Cormorants perched on this branch. Frigatebirds are almost always seen on the flight rather than perched


The red pouch of the male Frigatebird can be seen in this picture.


Females have white head, which constrasts nicely with an essentially black body


A closer look at the male, which displays its characteristic red pouch, though not inflated

One thought on “Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens)

  1. Pingback: Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) | The Nature Admirer

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