These beautiful frigatebirds are the "pirates"of the bird world
These frigatebirds are magnificent animals with an impressive wingspan of 2.3m (7.5 feet). Their wing are to bodyweight ratio is the highest of any bird. Adapted for long, effortless flights, these frigatebirds can stay aloft all day long as they hunt for fish or squid at the surface. They roost in trees at night, but they are known to soar on ocean currents for weeks at a time, if needed. Like swifts, they are capable of sleeping while in flight by resting one hemisphere of their brain at a time. Anyone who has visited the coastal area of a tropical or sub-tropical country has likely seen these birds along the beaches and shorelines. They swoop and dive, catching fish themselves, or they steal it from other birds. Noisy and aggressive, they use their agility and speed to chase other birds that have caught a meal. Pestering them until they drop their catch, the frigatebirds then swoop in and catch the fish for themselves. Even if the other bird swallows its food, the frigatebirds will harass their victim to make them regurgitate their meal. The frigatebird will steal this food just as readily, and they work together in a gang to accomplish this task. If another bird drops a fish, it will almost surely never hit the ground before a frigatebird snatches it. These birds truly are the "pirates" of the bird world, robbing other birds for a large portion of their diet. They are actually referred to as kleptoparasites because of this practice. They are even known to snatch other seabird babies from the nest. As with the term "kleptomaniac" applied to those who steal, it is the theft that earns these birds this name and reputation. Frigatebirds also have one of the longest duration of parent care of any bird. They dutifully look after their young for such an extended period that they can only breed once per two year period. This frigatebird in the Galapagos Islands is displaying one of the most interesting features of the species as it inflates a stunningly coloured red neck pouch to attract females for breeding. The larger and brighter the neck pouch, the more likely it is that he will appear to be a healthy and deserving mate. A baby frigatebird from another nesting pair looks on as the male makes his best pitch for a mate.