Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens), Barry M. Goldwater Range, Maricopa County
These Magnificent Frigatebirds were found and photographed by Joe Veverka on 19 July 2012
These photos were taken on the BMGR East North Tactical Range. (No Public Access). There were 2 individuals. These birds were seen before dawn during the monsoons.
Frigatebirds are casual in Arizona, with only two
accepted records of Magnificent Frigatebird in recent
years, both from 2010, and two accepted records of
"frigatebird sp.", from 2004 and 2006. Reports of
frigatebirds declined sharply after the 1970s, when they
were annual in the state. Additional records of
"frigatebird sp." include one from the 1980s and three
from the 1990s.
While frigatebirds as a group
are distinctive, ID among species is more challenging.
While Magnificent is the most likely species in Arizona
and the only one recorded thus far, both Lesser and
Great frigatebirds are also possible. Lesser Frigatebird
is ruled out by the white limited to the head and belly,
not extending onto the axillaries. Great Frigatebird
shows a buffy head in juvenile plumage. The partial dark
breast-band indicates juvenile plumage in these photos.
19 July 2012, photo by Joe VeverkaAll photos are copyrighted© by photographer
Submitted on 27 February 2015