<< Previous Next >>

Christmas Island Frigate - 1st TN Post

Christmas Island Frigate - 1st TN Post
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-04-25
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, Canon EF 300mm f2.8 USM IS
Exposure: f/4, 1/250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Christmas Island [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2010-02-15 11:38
Viewed: 5444
Points: 42
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This is the first TN posting of the species - and did it take some getting. We hiked down from one of the three marine terraces and over relic limestone reef - which was razor sharp - 20 mins to cross one reef - there were at least three. Eventually we reached the terrace edge where we had been told Christmas Island Frigates were nesting. We then had to go back ......

I am putting a shot of a active limestone reef in the workshop to give an idea of what we had to clamber over.

This specimen had his sack deflated - a bit disappointing - but by then we were beyond caring!!

The Christmas Frigatebird or Christmas Island Frigatebird (Fregata andrewsi) is a frigatebird endemic to the Christmas Islands in the Indian Ocean. Like other frigatebirds, this species does not walk or swim, but is a very aerial bird which obtains its food by picking up live prey items from beaches or the water surface, and the aerial piracy of other birds.

It is estimated that the population of this species will decline by 80 percent in the next 30 years due to predation of the young by the introduced yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes), which has devastated the wildlife of the island, and has also killed 10–20 million Christmas Island red crabs.

The adult male of this species is easily identified, since it is all black except for a white belly patch. Other plumages resemble those of the smaller Lesser Frigatebird, but have whiter bellies and longer white underwing spurs.

The binomial of this bird commemorates the British palaeontologist Charles William Andrews.

FRIGATES - General
The frigatebirds are a family, Fregatidae, of seabirds. There are five species in the single genus Fregata. They are also sometimes called Man of War birds or Pirate birds. Since they are related to the pelicans, the term "frigate pelican" is also a name applied to them. They have long wings, tails and bills and the males have a red gular pouch that is inflated during the breeding season to attract a mate.

Frigatebirds are pelagic piscivores which obtain most of their food on the wing. A small amount of their diet is obtained by robbing other seabirds, a behavior that has given the family its name, and by snatching seabird chicks. Frigatebirds are seasonally monogamous, and 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 in frigatebirds is the longest of any bird.

Frigatebirds are large, with iridescent black feathers (the females have a white underbelly), with long wings (male wingspan can reach 2.3 metres) and deeply-forked tails. The males have inflatable red-coloured throat pouches called "gular pouches", which they inflate to attract females during the mating season.

Frigatebirds are found over tropical oceans and ride warm updrafts. Therefore, they can often be spotted riding weather fronts and can signal changing weather patterns.

These birds do not swim and cannot walk well, 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, landing only to roost or breed on trees or cliffs.

As members of Pelecaniformes, frigatebirds have the key characteristics of all four toes being connected by the web, a gular sac (also called gular skin), and a furcula that is fused to the breastbone. Although there is definitely a web on the frigatebird foot, the webbing is reduced and part of each toe is free. Frigatebirds produce very little oil and therefore do not land in the ocean. The gular sac is used as part of a courtship display and is, perhaps, the most striking frigatebird feature.

300mm 2.8 lense and x1.4 converter - perched on a tree!!

roges, Mello, CeltickRanger, boreocypriensis, jaycee, Adanac, zulfu, Dis. Ac., jhm, uleko, jusninasirun, eng55, tuslaw, siggi, rousettus has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-02-15 11:50]

Hello James,
I've only seen one photo on the internet of this bird with its white breast, high in the sky. This one is very special. Excellent sharp details and greatly isolated from the BG. Beautiful colours and natural surroundings.

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2010-02-15 11:57]

Hi James. Firstly congrats with the first posting on TN of this Christmas Island Frigate . It was well worth the pain you went through to get this fine picture. It may not have felt like it at the time. I do like its head feathers . Taken with such fine detail and rich colours. You did well with the 300mm + 1.4 converter. All with interesting notes. TFS.

  • Great 
  • Mello Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 140 W: 34 N: 480] (2419)
  • [2010-02-15 12:38]

Congrats for you conquest James.
Great job and thanks for post this beauty. Amazing shape and colour pattern that we can see by your lens.
Great note too...
Thanks one more time.
Best wishes,

PS: Thanks about your kind words on my last post.

hello James

congratulations for the 1st TN Post of this bird, a fine POV giving
a amazing glance or eye-contact of the bird, fine focus sharpness
and details, you managed superbly your camera to obtain details
of the dark plumage, i saw the photo of the WS and as Nick wrote :
« It was well worth the pain you went through to get this fine picture. »



Hi Bro James,

What a great pov that you caught this pretty faced bird and congrats on this 1st on TN MF! Thanks to you and Peter, i am learning so much novelties.
TFS and have a nice night!


  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2010-02-15 15:10]

Hi James,

This makes up for all those painless shots from a boat:) Congratulations on being first (and maybe last) to post this on TN. An amazing capture and we are so lucky that you went through so much to share it with us. The head feathers, scarlet throat sac and white patch on his chest are marvelous. Very interesting notes to go with it.


  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2010-02-15 18:11]

Hello James,
Splendid capture and great first posting of this frigate. Thank you James.

  • Great 
  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2010-02-15 20:31]

Hello James,
Incredible capture! It's not every day that we see a rarity, very nice shot, it does not matter that you shoot from below as just the fact of it being a real gem compensates for it.. Well done


  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2010-02-15 21:02]

Hello james, wonderful shot of a bird of 1st on TN! with nice composition, details and colours.
TFS and G's,

Hello James,

what an great picture from this bird with good pov.
I have this specie never been seen before, TFS.
Fine colours.
Congratulations to be the first one.


  • Great 
  • jhm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 893 W: 0 N: 507] (1853)
  • [2010-02-15 23:50]

Hello James,

Long time ago these upload, but never to late for a visit.
Absolutely a very nice picture with these bird as subject
Color and presentation are very nice.
Very well done. TFS.

Best regards,

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2010-02-15 23:51]

Hello James,
Sounds like a really great adventure - those reefs look so nasty!! Congratulations on making it and getting a very fine 'first' of this unique Frigate bird. I like its pose here and the ruffled feathers on its head. Great details and beautiful colours too. Well done!
TFS and regards, Ulla

Hi James.
Indeed a very interesting "guy".
Good capture of this nice black bird.
Best greetings.Alin.

Hi James.

Congratulations on this capture - being the first in TN. This is indeed very special with interesting pattern and colors of the plumage. The converter works fine in shallow DoF. Thanks for sharing and best regards.


  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-02-16 7:18]

Hi James,
congratulation for posting such a special subject in great composition od colours and posing.
Even the canopy of leaves, ypou managed to produce a stunning shot. The red parts and the eyes are well shown.
Well done and congratulations.


  • Great 
  • roges Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 957 W: 0 N: 1329] (6264)
  • [2010-02-16 8:13]

Hi James,
a splendid catch, especially that for the first time in TN, t with some beautiful colors. Thanks for posting.
Excellent POV with details that can see very well.

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2010-02-16 12:53]

Hi James,
Congratulations on this first shot.This bird I'd
never seen befor.Excellent POV,sharpness and
Thanks for posting..

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2010-02-16 20:39]

Hello James,
After viewing your work shop image I have concurred that you must be part Moutain Goat. The terrain looks incredibly diffucult to manuver on.
Now back to your subject, the Christmas Frigatebird. A very interesting looking fellow shown with fine detail, excellent exposure and beautiful natural colors. He looks like he is having a bad hair day, kind of like the way I look when I first get up in the morning for work.

Bien resuelta teniendo en cuenta el difícil ángulo empleado y el siempre complicado conrtraluz. buen aprovechamiento de la luz.
Abrazo: Josep Ignasi.

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2010-02-18 11:55]

Hello James,
what a great view of this wonderful bird. I like its pose and the light and colours are fabulous. Excellent sharpness and well composed.
Best regards Siggi

Hello James
nice to see new species always. congratulations on 1st post of this beautiful Frigate. you nicely captured it with great focus and composition. eyes contact and natural colors superb. interesting notes very good and informative. thanks for sharing. have a nice trip. Looking forward to seeing your new posts from your last travel.
best regards

Calibration Check