Birdwatching on North Seymour Island, The Galápagos

On North Seymour Island, male frigatebirds puff up their gular sacs and shake their wings while the female flies above them. The female’s task is to choose the frigatebird with the best genes and she will land next to him. The pair will then build a nest and the female will lay one single egg. If an egg of a chick is lost early in the process, as often happens, then the courtship must begin again with a new pair being formed until procreation is assured. The frigatebird has one of the longest periods of immaturity of all birds and it could take up to six months for the chick to learn to fly. Even then the chick is dependent upon its parents for food and must learn the art of kleptoparasitism (stealing food and nesting from other birds while in flight), which can take up to a year. The bird will not reach full sexual maturity until is is five years old.

Distinguishing magnificent frigatebirds from great frigatebirds is not easy, especially with males. Magnificent frigatebirds make a rattling or drumming sound, while great frigatebirds make a gobbling sound, like a turkey. They can also be distinguished by looking at their scapular feathers. Although the feathers on both birds are black, they are iridescent and produce different colours when they refract sunlight. The iridescence of the magnificent frigatebird is purple, while that of the great frigatebird is green.

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Young blue footed boobies lie on the ground. It will take them two years to gain the adult pattern in their plumage.

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On some shrubbery is a male yellow warbler – the Galápagos variety of this species is very bold and is not afraid of getting close to visitors. These birds are not endemic to the Galápagos, however they are permanent residents of the islands, meaning that they live and breed here rather than migrating. Yellow warblers are small birds, around twelve centimetres tall with a wingspan of around 16 centimetres. Both the males and the females have yellow plumage with some black streaks, however the males also have reddish streaks on their chest and a red dot over their forehead. They have the nicest songs of all Galápagos land birds.

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Birdwatching on North Seymour Island, The Galápagos

by Uncover Travel time to read: 1 min
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