Thursday, February 26, 2009

Kona Resident Great Frigatebird of the Anniversary '09

Continued from the post: Hawaiian Monk Seal of the Anniversary '09.

It looked like this Hawaiian monk seal youngster was going to stay there for a while. Now he gathered many spectators including this beautiful young female great frigatebird, Fregata minor, which live in this harbor and has been circling us from the sky.

great frigatebird, Fregata minor, young female in flight, Kona Coast, Big Island, Hawaii, USA

What a magnificent bird! This species exhibits sexual dimorphism like the peacock. The female is larger than the adult male and has a white throat and breast. The adult male is famous for its striking red inflated gular sac which he uses in breeding season.

The Great Frigatebird is a fairly large seabird, measuring 42 in (1 m) with long pointed wings of 90 in (2 m) and long forked tails. Frigatebirds are also very light, weighing between 2-4 lb (1–2 kg), and known to have the highest ratio of wing area to body mass, as well as the lowest wing loading of any bird. This has been hypothesized to enable the birds to utilize marine thermals created by small differences between tropical air and water temperatures.

This Kona resident frigatebird was a beautiful female displaying white head and belly. Slightly orange-tinted white patches suggested that she was still a young one, but she was huge, flying above us effortlessly using the marine thermal air.

It would be fun to watch her grow even bigger in the future!

To be continued to: Hawaiian Spinner Dolphin Baby Jump of the Anniversary '09.

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