Frigate birds come and go on the island of Eleuthera using the air currents to stay aloft for long periods of time. I remember when we first came here and there were 4 or 5 of them flying around. They looked like some prehistoric bird with their long wings and forked tails soaring on the air currents. I asked a local person what they were and his response was – Well we call them Weather Birds because they come and go with the air currents that bring the weather. Now that made perfect sense but I knew that wasn’t their technical name so I researched and found out that they were in reality called- Frigate Birds.
“Frigatebirds Order: Suliformes Family: Fregatidae
Frigatebirds are large seabirds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black-and-white or completely black, with long wings and deeply forked tails. The males have coloured inflatable throat pouches. They do not swim or walk and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan-to-body-weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week.
Magnificent frigatebird, Fregata magnificens”- Wikipedia
NAMING THE FRIGATEBIRD: A POTTED HISTORY
Columbus encountered them on his first voyage in 1492, but knew them by their Spanish name rabiforçado or ‘fork-tail’.
The use of the name ‘frigatebird’ was first recorded in 1667 and referenced the frigate warship, a powerful sea-vessel
‘Man-o-War Bird’ was the name given to the bird by English mariners in the Caribbean, being the colloquial name given by sailors to a frigate.
ARE FRIGATEBIRDS ANY USE TO MAN OR BEAST?
Yes, emphatically so, to man anyway. Mariners through the ages have used frigatebirds as indicators of nearby land – not necessarily visible, but within sailing distance. And fishermen through the ditto have used them as reliable indicators of where fish are to be found.- Rolling Harbour. Com