Pirate of the Caribbean:Magnificant Frigatebird

I was very fortunate to be at the right place and at the right time when visiting Cancun Mexico in 2009 to witness a seldom seen event, Magnificent Frigatebirds courting and breeding. This didn’t occur in or around Cancun, but rather on Isla Contoy, a National Park and bird sanctuary located offshore in the Mexican Caribbean approximately 30 kilometers north of Isla Mujeres. There are several tour companies which takes visitors to Isla Contoy, it takes about 2 hours from Cancun with a stop for snorkeling along the way.

The island is quite small, just over 8 kilometers in length with a total land base of 317 hectares; it is considered the most important nesting place of sea birds in all of the Mexican Caribbean. If you like marine life there is a chance to swim with Manta Rays who come into the shallow waters of the bay.

Frigatebirds are pelagic and  take most of their food on the wing. Their diet includes mostly fish but will rob other seabirds of their food. Hence it has been also called the “Man of War”.  It has a wingspan of up to 215 cm (90 inches) and a height of 100 cm (39 inches).  In flight it soars effortlessly and can remain aloft for many hours before landing to sleep.

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