WATCHING BIRD CORMORANTS, AND ANHINGA


FRIGATEBIRDS, CORMORANTS, AND ANHINGA
Frigatebirds readily are identifiable as such by large size, very long slender wings, and long, deeply forked tail. Soar gracefully and often high above the water; do not swim. Pluck food in flight from surface of the water or pursue other seabirds and force them to disgorge. In display, breeding male enlarges the gular pouch like a large red balloon. Identification to species can be challenging; plumages are similar between species, and the plumage sequence also is complicated. Cormorants and Anhinga are aquatic birds with long necks and long slender bodies. Swim with the body low in the water; dive underwater to catch fish. Frequently seen perched with the wings spread, drying the plumage. Fly well but have difficulty taking flight, running across surface of water flapping wings before becoming airborne. Most species breed colonially; colonies of Guanay Cormorants can be especially large, numbering into the hundreds of thousands.

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WATCHING BIRD CORMORANTS, AND ANHINGA:

MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD Fregata magnificens 96.5–106.5 cm (38–42 in); ws 217–244 cm (85 ⁄2–96 in) The regularly occurring species of frigatebird; fairly common in warm waters of northwest. Very 1 rarely wanders to southern Peru. Adult male all dark. Breast and flanks of female white; remainder of plumage (including throat) dark. Entire head and breast of juvenile white. Adult females and most immature plumages also show some narrow white barring in the axillars. Cf. Great Frigatebird. Co, E, Br
GREAT FRIGATEBIRD Fregata minor * 89–96.5 cm (35–38 in); ws 206–230 cm (81–90 ⁄2 in) Status not clear; known from a few sight records from far northwest. Similar in all plumages to Magnificent Frigatebird, and to be identified with great care. Adult male extremely similar to male Magnificent, but toes pink or pinkish red (gray in male Magnificent) and has light brown panel on upperwing surface (lacking in Magnificent). Often shows pale gray scaling on axillars. Female similar to female Magnificent, but throat white (not black); Great also has red (not blue) orbital ring. Head of juvenile buffy (variable in extent and saturation), not white. Co, E, Br, Ch
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT Phalacrocorax brasilianus * 58–73 cm (23–29 in) Fairly common throughout Peru below 1000 m; also present locally on altiplano at 3200–4200 m in 2 southern Peru. Formerly regular at Lake Junín but no longer resident there. The only freshwater cormorant; also forages in ocean, but only close to shore. Adult black; in alternate plumage has narrow white border to the orange gular patch, and for a short period (when breeding) also has white plumes on side of neck. Juvenile and immature dull brown, buffier below. VOICE Calls a rarely heard low grunting, and barks that recall a sea lion. Co, E, Br, Bo, Ch
GUANAY CORMORANT Phalacrocorax bougainvillii 76 cm (30 in) Common to abundant in central and southern Peru, breeding north to Isla Lobos de Tierra; disperses 3 farther north, but only in small numbers, and is irregular in Tumbes. Large, with prominent white belly (variably extending to breast and lower neck) and reddish face. Immature patterned similarly but duller: browner above with yellowish face. Usually seen in large flocks. Forages from shore to well out to sea. Co, E, Ch
RED-LEGGED CORMORANT Phalacrocorax gaimardi 76 cm (30 in) Rare to uncommon in inshore waters near islands and rocky headlands. Usually seen as singles or 4 in small numbers. Readily recognized by light gray plumage, white neck patch, and bright soft part colors. Ch
ANHINGA Anhinga anhinga * 82.5–89 cm (32 ⁄2–35 in) Uncommon but widespread in eastern Peru below 500 m. Very rare vagrant up to 3100 m in Andes. 51 Superficially similar to Neotropic Cormorant (and, like cormorants, spreads wings to dry), but larger with longer tail, extensive white spotting on upperwing coverts, and sharply pointed (not hooked) bill. Also is much less social than cormorants, and often seen only as single individuals. Can lower the body while swimming such that only head and neck are above water. Unlike cormorants, also soars, sometimes high above ground; may be mistaken for a raptor, but note long thin neck and bill. Male is largely black. Head, neck, and breast of female are buffy. Immature similar to female, but white of wing coverts reduced. Co, E, Br, Bo

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