Questions

Why would a Frigatebird drown if it went into the water?

What do glands make?

What is the Frigates relationship with other birds?

This Bird is a Thief

Birds and animals often have clever ways of getting food.

Take a look at this picture. It shows a Frigatebird. This Galapagos bird is a sea bird. A sea bird lives near the sea and gets its food there. Many sea birds hunt for fish by diving into the ocean, but the Frigatebird can't swim. If it dove into the ocean, it would drown.  Why would the Frigatebird drown? If it went into the water, its feathers would get soaked and it would be too wet and heavy to fly. It wouldn't be able to lift itself out of the ocean, so it would sink in the water and drown.

Most sea birds don't have this problem. They have a special gland under their skin near their tails, and this gland makes a kind of oil. Glands are found inside an animal's body or a person's body.

Glands can make oil, sweat, or tears. Most sea birds use this oil to make their feathers waterproof. The oil makes water run off the feathers, so the feathers don't get wet and soggy.  The Frigatebird is different from these other birds because its oil gland is too small to make enough oil.  That's why its feathers would get wet and heavy if it went into the ocean.

So how does a Frigatebird get its food? One way is to steal it. The Frigatebird will chase another bird that is carrying a fish. It attacks the other bird until it drops the fish. Then the Frigatebird swoops down and catches the fish before the fish hits the water.

Sometimes the Frigatebird will sneak up behind another bird. The Frigatebird  takes food right out of the other bird’s mouth!

The Frigatebird has another way of getting food. It flies above the ocean, looking for fish that are swimming near the surface of the water. When the bird sees a fish that is just below the surface, it opens its long beak.

The Frigatebird's beak has a sharp hook at the end, and this hook is a perfect tool for snatching fish out of the water. After grabbing the fish, the Frigatebird flies away without letting its feathers touch the water.  Look at the hook at the end of the Frigatebird's beak. It's a perfect tool for snatching fish out of the water.

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