Magnificent Frigatebird - Important additional info. regarding id.

Kaaren Perry

I have just received input on my reports sighting from my friend Jim Pike.  It seems that without the seeing the carpel bar on the upper wing this bird cannot be separated by species from the Great Frigate bird.  Thanks Jim for the information.  MAFR was the only one listed in my various North American resources for frigates.  ON further investigation after Jim's guidance, I found the Lesser and Great listed under "accidentals' at the back of Nat'l Geo.

Here are Jim's comments.

Very cool sighting. However, based on what you saw of this male frigatebird, Magnificent can't be separated from Great. Both state records of the latter occurred within a time frame when Magnificent was least expected, that being early spring (March) and mid-fall (October), rather than the typical early June to mid-September window of Magnificent. Sighting of a prominent pale carpal bar on the upperwing coverts would be the primary means of telling a male Great from a male Magnificent.

On Jan 16, 2023, at 10:32 AM, Kaaren Perry <surfbird1@...> wrote:

At near 9:00 this morning a Magnificent Frigate bird was observed soaring over my car as I drove slowly along St Park Drive near the State Park marina.  All black bird, with somewhat broad and extremely long, pointed wings and a long deeply forked tail. No gular pouch was visible. Bill was long and dark with a hook at the end.  Unfortunately I was unable to get any photos and the bird continued on, soaring out over the bay and out to sea. At no time did I see it flap. Weather had been quite windy with light showers. 

Just when you least expect, it happens!!

Kaaren Perry 
Morro Bay