Sunday Inspiration – Frigatebirds, Gannets and the Booby

Blue-footed Booby (Sula nebouxii) by Ian

Blue-footed Booby (Sula nebouxii) by Ian

“He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.” (Psalms 121:3 KJV)

We are introducing you to the Suliformes Order which has four families. The first two families are fairly small, so we will cover them today.

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) ©USFWS

The Frigatebirds belong to the Fregatidae Family and only have one genus, the Fregata. There are five species, the Ascension, Christmas, Magnificent, Great, and the Lesser Frigatebirds.

Frigatebirds (also listed as “frigate bird”, “frigate-bird”, “frigate”, frigate-petrel”) are found across all tropical and subtropical oceans. The five extant species are classified in a single genus, Fregata. All have predominantly black plumage, long, deeply forked tails and long hooked bills. Females have white underbellies and males have a distinctive red gular pouch, which they inflate during the breeding season to attract females. Their wings are long and pointed and can span up to 2.3 metres (7.5 ft), the largest wing area to body weight ratio of any bird.

Lesser Frigatebird (Fregata ariel) imm. by Ian

Lesser Frigatebird (Fregata ariel) immature by Ian

Able to soar for weeks on wind currents, frigatebirds spend most of the day in flight hunting for food, and roost on trees or cliffs at night. Their main prey are fish and squid, caught when chased to the water surface by large predators such as tuna. Frigatebirds are referred to as kleptoparasites as they occasionally rob other seabirds for food, and are known to snatch seabird chicks from the nest. Seasonally monogamous, frigatebirds nest colonially. A rough nest is constructed in low trees or on the ground on remote islands. A single egg is laid each breeding season. The duration of parental care is among the longest of any bird species; frigatebirds are only able to breed every other year.

Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) by W Kwong

Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) by W Kwong

The Gannets and Boobies make up the Sulidae Family. The bird family Sulidae comprises the gannets and boobies. Collectively called sulids, they are medium-large coastal seabirds that plunge-dive for fish and similar prey. However, Sula (true boobies) and Morus (gannets) can be readily distinguished by morphological and behavioral and DNA sequence characters. Abbott’s booby (PapaIt appears to be a distinct and ancient lineage, maybe closer to the gannets than to the true boobies. There are 10 species. The Morus genus has three species, the Northern, Cape and Australasian Gannets.

Abbott's Booby (Papasula abbotti) by Ian

Abbott’s Booby (Papasula abbotti) by Ian

The Papasula genus consists of only the Abbott’s Booby.

Red-footed Booby (Sula sula) by Bob-Nan

Red-footed Booby (Sula sula) by Bob-Nan

The rest of the Boobies are in the Sula genus.  They are the Blue-footed Booby [a favorite], Peruvian Booby, Masked Booby, Nazca Booby, Red-footed Booby [another favorite], and the Brown Booby. [Wikipedia, with editing]


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“Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.” (Psalms 17:5 KJV)

“My Faith Still Holds” ~ Faith Baptist Church Orchestra
More Sunday Inspirations

Assurance: The Certainty of Salvation

5 thoughts on “Sunday Inspiration – Frigatebirds, Gannets and the Booby

  1. Pingback: Paintbrush Birds – Blue-footed Booby | Lee's Birdwatching Adventures Plus

  2. The Blue-footed Booby is showing off his loyalty to the UNC-Chapel Hill Tarheels; I might add that University of North Carolina is a good place to earn a J.D. degree, especially if you use the law school training to litigate and for Biblical apologetics.

    Liked by 1 person

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