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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More Sunday Inspirations

Assurance: The Certainty of Salvation
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Sunday Inspiration – Thraupidae – Tanagers and Allies II

Vermilion Tanager (Calochaetes coccineus) ©Nick Athanas

Vermilion Tanager (Calochaetes coccineus) ©Nick Athanas

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18 KJV)

Last week’s Sunday Inspiration of Tanagers and Allies started us off on this huge family. We will continue, starting with the five Lanio genus of Shrike-Tanagers.

Brazilian Tanager (Ramphocelus bresilius) by Dario Sanches

Brazilian Tanager (Ramphocelus bresilius) by Dario Sanches

The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. (Psalms 12:6 KJV)

Wait until you see the second very colorful genus, the Ramphocelus. These are Neotropical birds that have enlarged shiny whitish or bluish-grey lower mandibles, which are pointed upwards in display. However, this is greatly reduced in the females of most species. Males are black and red, orange or yellow, while females resemble a duller version of the males, or are brownish or greyish combined with dull red, orange or yellowish.

Cherrie's Tanager (Ramphocelus costaricensis) Female by Raymond Barlow

Cherrie’s Tanager (Ramphocelus costaricensis) Female by Raymond Barlow

Ramphocelus tanagers are found in semi-open areas. The nest is a cup built by the female of plant materials such as moss, rootlets, and strips of large leaves like banana or Heliconia, and is often in a fairly open site in a tree. The female usually lays pale blue eggs, with grey, brown or lavender spots, and the young stay in the nest for only about 12 days. The songs of this genus are repetitions of rich one- or two-syllable whistles. Most of these are of a crimson or reddish hue.

Sayaca Tanager (Thraupis sayaca) ©WikiC

Sayaca Tanager (Thraupis sayaca) ©WikiC

The Thraupis Tanagers are another beautiful genera of the Lord’s Creation. This time, blue will is the dominate color. “These tanagers are mainly found in semi-open habitats including plantations and open woodland, but some will venture into towns. They feed from medium to high levels in trees, taking mainly fruit, with some nectar, and insects which may be taken in flight.” (Wikipedia)

Blue-backed Tanager (Cyanicterus cyanicterus) ©Francesco_Veronesi

This week will end with two genus that have only one species each, the Vermilion Tanager (Calochaetes coccineus) and the Blue-backed Tanager (Cyanicterus cyanicterus). All the birds this week live from Mexico down through South America.

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I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. (Psalms 50:11 NKJV)

“My Faith Still Holds” ~ Faith Baptist Orchestra

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More Sunday Inspirations

Sunday Inspiration – Thraupidae – Tanagers and Allies I

Traupidae Family – Tanagers and Allies

Hope for Hard Times

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