|Pacific Golden Plover, Frigatebirds, Curlew, Black
Noddy, Boobies, and Sooty Tern
The Pacific Golden Plover is a visitor to Midway Atoll. Their nesting grounds are in the Arctic. There were a fair number of
these birds scurrying around the Atoll.
Frigatebirds 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. 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.
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.
Right, a female Frigatebird.
Male and female frigatebirds flying.
Bristle-Thighed Curlew. A uncommon visitor to the Atoll. Breeds on the tundra in Western Alaska.
Black Noddy. Also known as Hawaiian Noddy. Endemic to the Hawaiian Archipelago and not endangered.
Brown Booby. Wing span 54 inches. Sitting on a barge which sank at Midway more than sixty years ago.
Red-footed Booby. Wingspan 40 inches. Smallest of Hawaiian Boobies.
Red-footed Boobies build nests unlike other Boobies which build nests on the ground.
Sooty Tern. These birds were just returning to Midway to nest as we visited the island. When not nesting, they live on the
open sea. They form huge nesting colonies on Midway which we were just a little early to see.
Below, Sooty terns with a few albatross mixed in.