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) 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
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
The Papasula genus consists of only the Abbott’s Booby.
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]
“Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.” (Psalms 17:5 KJV)
“But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him.” (Luke 22:56 KJV)
Shoebill by Lee – Closeup
*** P.S. – Today I am to have my back surgery. [In surgery room about 6 hours they told us.] It was originally supposed to be on Tuesday. These blogs were pre-scheduled to cover that time and my recovery. Will add an update when possible. Thanks again for your prayers. ***
Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta) at National Aviary by Dan
I am like a pelican of the wilderness; I am like an owl of the desert. (Psalms 102:6 NKJV)
Previously, it was mentioned that some bird families have already been featured on the Sunday Inspirations. The next family includes the Herons and Bitterns. It is the Ardeidae, and it was covered in these two articles written in 2014:
Today we will finish up the Pelicaniformes Order, which included the Ibises and Spoonbills [Threskiornithidae], the Herons and Bitterns [Ardeidae], and now today with; the Hamerkop (1) with only one species in the Scopidae family, the Shoebill (1) in the Balaenicipitidae Family, and the Pelicans (8) in the Pelecanidae Family.
[Because this is being scheduled in advance, Lord willing, my back surgery will be performed on this Tuesday, the 20th. Your prayers will be greatly welcome. It will be a 4-5 hour surgery. I think.]
Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta) by Africaddict
The Hamerkop, have been a favorite of mine ever since we saw our first one at the National Aviary in Pittsburg, PA. When its head feathers are out, the head looks like a hammer. They also seemed rather tame walking around in the aviary.
Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex) by Daves BirdingPix
The Shoebill is another favorite. We have these at the Lowry Park Zoo, in Tampa. I keep trying to get a decent photo, but I have to shoot through a fence. Though, the fence is nice to have between us. He is a nice bird, but that look can be intimidating. :) Here is a close-up taken through the fence.
Shoebill by Lee – Closeup
Living in Florida, we all see Pelicans quite frequently, even inland. The White Pelicans land at many of our lakes, and several years ago, over 5,000 landed at Circle B Reserve in Lakeland, Florida, for a month or so. I’ve shown this video before but thought it fit here again. I was so excited by all of them arriving to land just behind where Dan and I were standing. My utter amazement shows. [along with poor English]
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:25-26 NKJV)
Brown Pelican with fish and Laughing Gull
Pelicans are a genus of large water birds that makes up the family Pelecanidae. They are characterised by a long beak and a large throat pouch used for catching prey and draining water from the scooped up contents before swallowing. They have predominantly pale plumage, the exceptions being the brown and Peruvian pelicans. The bills, pouches and bare facial skin of all species become brightly coloured before the breeding season. The eight living pelican species have a patchy global distribution, ranging latitudinally from the tropics to the temperate zone, though they are absent from interior South America as well as from polar regions and the open ocean.
White Pelicans by Lee over Circle B Reserve
Pelicans frequent inland and coastal waters where they feed principally on fish, catching them at or near the water surface. They are gregarious birds, travelling in flocks, hunting cooperatively and breeding colonially. Four white-plumaged species tend to nest on the ground, and four brown or grey-plumaged species nest mainly in trees
“God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet: and setteth me upon my high places.
(2 Samuel 22:33-34 KJV)”
“and for a long time birds and hedgehogs, and ibises and ravens shall dwell in it: and the measuring line of desolation shall be cast over it, and satyrs shall dwell in it. (Isaiah 34:11 Brenton)”
The family Threskiornithidae includes 34 species of large wading birds. The family has been traditionally classified into two subfamilies, the ibises and the spoonbills; however recent genetic studies are casting doubt on the arrangement and revealing the spoonbills to be nested within the ibises.
Australian White Ibis (Threskiornis molucca) by Ian
Members of the family have long, broad wings with 11 primary feathers and about 20 secondaries. They are strong fliers and, rather surprisingly, given their size and weight, very capable soarers. The body tends to be elongated, the neck more so, with rather long legs. The bill is also long, decurved in the case of the ibises, straight and distinctively flattened in the spoonbills. They are large birds, but mid-sized by the standards of their order, ranging from the dwarf olive ibis (Bostrychia bocagei), at 45 cm (18 in) and 450 g (0.99 lb), to the giant ibis (Thaumatibis gigantea), at 100 cm (39 in) and 4.2 kg (9.3 lb).
They are distributed almost worldwide, being found near almost any area of standing or slow-flowing fresh or brackish water. Ibises are also found in drier areas, including landfills.
All ibises are diurnal; spending the day feeding on a wide range of invertebrates and small vertebrates: ibises by probing in soft earth or mud, spoonbills by swinging the bill from side to side in shallow water. At night, they roost in trees near water. They are gregarious, feeding, roosting, and flying together, often in formation.
African Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus) by Lee at LPZoo
Threskiornis is a genus of ibises, wading birds of the family Threskiornithidae. They occur in the warmer parts of the Old World in southern Asia, nest in a tree or bush and lay two to four eggs. They occur in marshy wetlands and feed on various fish, frogs, crustaceans and insects. The species in this genus are the; African sacred ibis, T. aethiopicus, Malagasy sacred ibis, T. bernieri, Reunion ibis T. solitarius (extinct), Black-headed ibis, T. melanocephalus, Australian white ibis, T. moluccus, Solomons white ibis, T. m. pygmaeus, and theStraw-necked ibis, T. spinicollis.
The bird genus Pseudibis consists of two South-East Asian species in the ibis subfamily, Threskiornithinae. The giant ibis is also sometimes placed in this genus. Red-naped Ibis, Pseudibis papillosa andWhite-shouldered Ibis, Pseudibis davisoni. The white-shouldered ibis is critically endangered.
Southern Bald Ibis (Geronticus calvus) by Dan at Lowry Park Zoo
The small bird genus Geronticus belongs to the ibis subfamily (Threskiornithinae). Its name is derived from the Greek gérontos (γέρωντος, “old man”) in reference to the bald head of these dark-plumaged birds; in English, they are called bald ibises.
Geronticus contains two living species. The northern bald ibis (G. eremita) has a neck crest of elongated feathers. It is a Critically Endangered species found around the Mediterranean. Its range had expanded after the last glacial period to the Alps of Germany and even a bit further north, but it was rendered extinct there mainly due to habitat destruction and unsustainable hunting. The southern bald ibis (G. calvus) with a red crown patch but no crest is classified as Vulnerable and is found in subtropical southern Africa.
Nipponia– The crested ibis (Nipponia nippon), also known as the Japanese crested ibis or toki (トキ?), variously written in kanji as 朱鷺, 鴇, 鵇 or 鴾, and written in hanzi as 朱䴉 or 朱鷺, is a large (up to 78.5 cm (30.9 in) long), white-plumaged ibis of pine forests. Its head is partially bare, showing red skin, and it has a dense crest of white plumes on the nape. This species is the only member of the genus Nipponia.
Bostrychia is a genus of ibises in the family Threskiornithidae. Member species are found in many countries throughout Africa.
It contains the following five species:Wattled ibis (Bostrychia carunculata), Hadada ibis (Bostrychia hagedash), Olive ibis (Bostrychia olivacea), São Tomé ibis (Bostrychia bocagei), Spot-breasted ibis (Bostrychia rara)
Buff-necked Ibis (Theristicus caudatus) by Dario Sanches
Theristicus is a genus of birds in the family Threskiornithidae. They are found in open, grassy habitats in South America. All have a long, decurved dark bill, relatively short reddish legs that do not extend beyond the tail in flight (unlike e.g. Eudocimus and Plegadis), and at least the back is grey. They are the Plumbeous ibis, Theristicus caerulescens, Buff-necked ibis, Theristicus caudatus, Black-faced ibis, Theristicus melanopis, Andean ibis, Theristicus branickii,
Mesembrinibis– The green ibis (Mesembrinibis cayennensis), also known as the Cayenne ibis, is a wading bird in the ibis family Threskiornithidae. It is the only member of the genus Mesembrinibis.
This is a resident breeder from Honduras through Nicaragua, Costa Rica and western Panama, and South America to northern Argentina. It undertakes some local seasonal movements in the dry season.
Bare-faced Ibis (Phimosus infuscatus) by Robert Scanlon
Phimosus – The bare-faced ibis (Phimosus infuscatus), also known as the whispering ibis, is a species of bird in the family Threskiornithidae, in the monotypic genus Phimosus.
It is found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Its natural habitat is swamps. The Bare-faced Ibis is either dark brown or a blackish color. It is called the Bare-faced Ibis because it does not have any feathers on its face. It has a long Decurved bill that’s pinkish to reddish brown. The skin on its face is usually a reddish color and it also has long orangely colored beak with pink legs. The total length of the ibis ranges between 45 and 50 cm.
Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber) by Dan at LPZoo
Eudocimus is a genus of ibises, wading birds of the family Threskiornithidae. They occur in the warmer parts of the New World with representatives from the southern United States south through Central America, the West Indies, and South America.
There are just two species in this genus, American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) and Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber)
Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) by Dan’s Pix
Plegadis is a bird genus in the family Threskiornithidae. The genus name derives from Ancient Greek plegados, “sickle”, referring to the distinctive shape of the bill. Member species are found on every continent except Antarctica as well as a number of islands. The glossy ibis is easily the most widespread of the three species. Plegadis contains the following three species: Glossy Ibis, Plegadis falcinellus, , White-faced Ibis, Plegadis chihi, Puna Ibis, Plegadis ridgwayi.
Lophotibis– The Madagascan ibis (Lophotibis cristata), also known as the Madagascar crested ibis, white-winged ibis or crested wood ibis, is a medium-sized (approximately 50 cm long), brown-plumaged ibis. It has bare red orbital skin, yellow bill, red legs, white wings and its head is partially bare with a dense crest of green or gloss blue and white plumes on the nape. The Madagascan Ibis is the only member of the genus Lophotibis.
Roseate Spoonbill at Flamingo Gardens by Lee
Platalea– Spoonbills are a group of large, long-legged wading birds in the family Threskiornithidae, which also includes the ibises. The genus name platalea derives from Latin and means “broad”, referring to the distinctive shape of the bill. Six species are recognised, all either placed in a single genus or three genera. They are most closely related to the Old World ibises; Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia, Black-faced Spoonbill Platalea minor, African Spoonbill Platalea alba, Royal Spoonbill Platalea regia, Yellow-billed Spoonbill Platalea flavipes, and our local Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja.
All spoonbills have large, flat, spatulate bills and feed by wading through shallow water, sweeping the partly opened bill from side to side. The moment any small aquatic creature touches the inside of the bill—an insect, crustacean, or tiny fish—it is snapped shut. Spoonbills generally prefer fresh water to salt but are found in both environments. They need to feed many hours each day.
“And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)” (Hebrews 10:21-23 KJV)
“On the mountain height of Israel will I plant it, that it may bring forth boughs and bear fruit and be a noble cedar, and under it shall dwell all birds of every feather; in the shade of its branches they shall nestle and find rest.” (Ezekiel 17:23 AMP)
Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala) by Lee at Zoo Miami 2014
“A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.” (Proverbs 17:8 KJV)
Once there was a family of common wood pigeons that lived deep in a large forest. The father and mother, David and Susan, had three children, Billy, Louisa, and Will. The children had not been in the nest for very long, but were now almost old enough to fly from the nest to make their own homes.
One day when Susan was flying through the forest searching for worms, she met an owl named Winston who was casually sitting on a branch. Because Winston was considered the wisest owl in the entire forest, all of the birds and other animals came to him for advice on how to solve their problems. When Susan explained to Winston that her children were nearly old enough to begin flying to find their own place to live, Winston immediately suggested holding a graduation ceremony.
Susan, confused on what exactly a graduation ceremony entailed, waited patiently for most of the afternoon as Winston slowly explained every detail of what a graduation ceremony was, what must be done, and the reason for it. Susan almost wished she hadn’t said anything because Winston had a history of being extremely long-winded. From what Susan gathered, however, graduation ceremonies were for people who had reached a certain point in their lives. They left a place called ‘school’ where they learned everything they needed to know before being given a piece of paper and going to another place to learn. Susan thought it was almost like the way her children would fly from the nest.
Susan quickly flew back home and told David everything that Winston had said, and David thought it was a great idea. They began to prepare for the ceremony by inviting all of the birds and animals in the woods, though they were informed that the turkeys couldn’t attend because hunters had been spotted and the turkeys were not taking any chances.
That Saturday, Winston flew over to a large nearby branch while all of the pigeons and several other birds and animals gathered around to listen. Winston’s speech lasted a very long time, and by the time he was done Billy, Louisa, Will, and most of the others were fast asleep.
David and Susan quickly woke their children up so they could rise for their diploma. David and Susan both decided that the perfect substitute for a diploma would be the biggest worms they could find. Winston called out each of their children’s names one by one, and, while the rest of the birds and animals all cheered, Billy, Louisa, and Will took their worms. The ceremony was officially over. Everyone had a party afterwards with all of the birds bringing worms and all the squirrels volunteering to bring nuts and berries for the others. Some of the animals even gave the young birds a few graduation presents. One kind squirrel brought the largest nut he could find, while a raccoon brought an assortment of leaves she had found that would look nice in a nest.
Bok Santuary Squirrel by Lee
When Billy, Louisa, and Will began to prepare to fly away to make their new nests, Susan tried not to cry. Finally, all of the guests left and her children flew away. She hoped they would come home to visit soon, and that they would not fly too far.
“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit….But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” (1 Corinthians 12:4, 11 KJV)
Our young writer, Emma Foster, has been growing up and has just graduated from High School. We trust you have enjoyed her Bird Tales over the last 5 1/2 years. She started writing for us on the blog in January of 2012. Her stories have continually improved as she has matured. I still chuckle over her first story of the parrot, Mrs. Patterson’s Parrot, that was too large to come home in the car.
About a week ago, I asked Emma to write a story about birds graduating. This was her answer to the request. I wanted to honor her for her graduation and the wish her well as she starts college and the future.
Now that she has graduated, she plans to work on a degree in writing. She has also assured us that she will continue to send more Bird Tales for us to enjoy. I look forward to those and will continue praying for her as she enters this new phase of her life.