Kiritimati: Frigatebirds

One more bird species we saw nesting on Motu Ngaontetaake – frigatebirds. These are absolutely awesome and they nest in the remote numbers in quite large numbers, right next to the red-footed boobies. We saw young chicks, super small chicks, eggs, adolescents, and – most spectacular – males blowing up their red throat bags! There are two species of frigatebirds in Kiritimati – greater and lesser frigatebirds, often difficult to distinguish. Frigatebirds are some of the largest seabirds by wingspan (up to 8 feet, more then 2 meters), and females and males are quite different (sexual dimorphism) – females are larger and have a white throat and breast, while the males have a large red pouch or sac that they are able to distend during mating displays. We got super lucky to see that! Interesting fact – frigatebirds are sometimes called the “man-o-war bird” because they harasses other birds until they regurgitate recently captured food and drop it, while frigatebirds snatch it in mid-air – this is called kleptoparasitism.