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10 May 2014

Ascension Frigatebird

Ascension Frigatebird (阿森松軍艦鳥)
Ascension Island (2013)
24th January, 2014. Ascension Island

The Ascension Frigatebird breeds on the rocky slopes of the tiny Boatswain Bird Island just off Ascension Island in the tropical Atlantic Ocean. It formerly bred on the larger island, but was exterminated by introduced cats, Brown Rats, and human persecution; in 2012 it was announced that a breeding pair had been found on Ascension Island following a project to exterminate feral cats.

This species is very similar to the other frigatebirds and is similarly sized to all but Lesser Frigatebird. It has a white axillary spur, and juveniles show a white head, and a distinctly white hind neck with no reddish-brown hue. It has a brown breast band. A frigatebird found moribund in 1953 in Tiree, Scotland was identified at the time as Magnificent Frigatebird but the specimen was re-examined in 2002 and found to be an Ascension Frigatebird. A juvenile was photographed at Bowmore on the island of Islay in July 2013.

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