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
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Assurance: The Certainty of Salvation
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Lee’s Six Word Saturday – 6/24/17

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Scarlet Ibis Rookery ©Stevebird Wildlife

HER HOUSEHOLD ARE

CLOTHED WITH SCARLET

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“She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.  (Proverbs 31:22)

Scarlet Ibis Rookery ©Stevebird Wildlife

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Lee’s Five Word Friday – 6/23/17

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American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) by AestheticPhotos

AND WHEN HE HAD LANDED

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And when he [Paul] had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.” (Acts 18:22 KJV)

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) by AestheticPhotos

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Lee’s Four Word Thursday – 6/22/17

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Shoebill by Lee - Closeup

EARNESTLY LOOKED UPON HIM

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“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. ***

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Lee’s Three Word Wednesday – 6/21/17

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Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus) by Ian at Birdway

LORD SUSTAINED ME

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“I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.” (Psalms 3:5 KJV)

Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus) by Ian at Birdway

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Lee’s Two Word Tuesday – 6/20/17

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Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) by Ray

IN PEACE

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“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.” (Psalms 4:8 KJV)

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) by Ray

*** Thursday is my scheduled back surgery. Your prayers are welcomed. (It was supposed to be today, but was changed  – pre-scheduled this blog)


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Lee’s One Word Monday – 6/19/17

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Contented Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta) National Aviary by Lee

CONTENT

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“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Philippians 4:11 KJV)

Contented Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta) National Aviary by Lee

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Lee’s Seven Word Sunday – 6/18/17

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Silver Diamond Dove Female ©MediaCache

WINGS OF A DOVE

COVERED WITH SILVER

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“Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.”  (Psalm 68:13)

Silver Diamond Dove Female ©MediaCache

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Sunday Inspiration – Hamerkop, Shoebill, and Pelicans

Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta) at NA by Dan

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:

Sunday Inspiration – Bittern and Sunday Inspiration – Herons

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

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

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

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

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“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)”


“I Will Sing The Mighty Power of God” ~ ©Hyssongs
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Pelecanidae – Pelicans Family

Birds of the Bible – Pelicans

Gospel Message

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Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) Zoo Miami by Lee

MORE RUDDY IN BODY

THAN RUBIES

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“Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire:” (Lamentations 4:7 KJV)

Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) Zoo Miami by Lee

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Lee’s Five Word Friday – 6/16/17

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Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus) Female ©Flickr Brian Gratwicke

GREEN THING IN THE TREES

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“For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt.”  (Exodus 10:15)

Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus) Female ©Flickr Brian Gratwicke

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Bird of the Moment ~ Restless Flycatcher

Restless Flycatcher (Myiagra inquieta) by Ian

Bird of the Moment ~ Restless Flycatcher ~ by Ian Montgomery

Some weeks ago I went to Toonpan a dry pasture area outside Townsville which is good for dry country birds such as Bustards and often produces unusual birds. There were a couple of Restless Flycatchers there hawking for insects and I found out later that this species has never featured as bird of the moment, an omission we’ll rectify now.

They are dapper birds, smart in their glossy black and white plumage and long tail. They bare a superficial resemblance to the similarly sized Willie Wagtail, but the species is a member of the Monarch Flycatcher family rather than the Fantails. The nominate larger type inquieta breeds in eastern, southern and southwestern Australia, but not in Tasmania or eastern Western Australia (the Nullabor). The smaller type nana occurs in northern Australia from northwestern Queensland through the Top End of the Northern Territory to northeastern Western Australia.

Restless Flycatcher (Myiagra inquieta) by Ian

Taxonomists disagree as to whether these types should be treated as conspecific or separate species. I’m treating them as separate ones here, so ‘Restless Flycatcher’ refers to the southern one, and ‘Paperbark Flycatcher’ to the northern one. Both are mainly sedentary, but there is some northward movement of the Restless Flycatcher in winter here in northeastern Queensland it is a winter visitor.

Restless Flycatcher (Myiagra inquieta) by Ian

Restless Flycatchers have a characteristic hovering flight when hawking for insects and this one at Toonpan was doing just this between me and the afternoon sun in the second, third and fourth photos. There were all taken within an elapsed time of one second and in the third one, it is turning away from whatever attracted its attention in the first two. When hawking like this, they make ‘grinding, churring sounds’ (to quote Pizzey and Knight) which are supposed to disturb insects into flight. For this reason, the species is sometimes called the Scissors Grinder.

Restless Flycatcher (Myiagra inquieta) by Ian

The fifth photo shows one of the two birds checking out the vegetation along a barbed wire fence. It’s not, as it might appear, flying towards the fence. Rather it had been perched on the fence seconds before and is making its way down the side of it.

Restless Flycatcher (Myiagra inquieta) by Ian

The Restless Flycatcher builds a beautiful nest of grass, bark and spiders’ webs on a horizontal branch, sixth photo with a usual clutch size of three. The nest is typically decorated or maybe camouflaged with lichen. In this photo, you can see the broad, flat bill characteristic of Monarch Flycatchers.

Restless Flycatcher (Myiagra inquieta) by Ian

Restless Flycatchers are usually found near water. The one in the seventh photo is having a drink from a river.

Restless Flycatcher (Myiagra inquieta) by Ian

Here is the Paperbark Flycatcher, eight photo. The best way I know to separate it from the Restless Flycatcher is by range, though the Paperbark is smaller (17-19cm versus 19-22cm) and supposed to be glossier and have a darker back. The calls are supposed to be slightly different, though they sound much the same to me.

Paperbark Flycatcher (Myiagra nana) by Ian

The Paperbark Flycatcher also builds a cup-shaped nest on a horizontal branch, ninth photo, but the sources I have don’t mention bark as building material, or lichen as a decoration. As with the Restless Flycatcher, both genders share in nest-building, incubation and rearing of the chicks.

Restless Flycatcher (Myiagra inquieta) by Ian

If we treat Restless and Paperbark as separate species, then the Restless is an Australian endemic, The Paperbark isn’t as it also occurs in southern New Guinea on both sides of the Indonesian-PNG border.

Greetings,
Ian


Lee’s Addition:

“And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;” (Isaiah 32:18 KJV)

What interesting Flycatchers Ian has introduced us to. His “Moment” seems to get longer each time. Maybe one day, Ian may get back to his “Bird of the Week.”  :)

Keep up the good work, Ian. We enjoy your birds whenever they fly our way.