Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2017-24

Common name:

Magnificent Frigatebird

Scientific name: Fregata magnificens
Date: April 15-19, 2016.
Time: various
Length of time observed: see below
Number: 1
Age: 2nd cycle
Sex: female
Location: various
County: Washington
Latilong: 19
Distance to bird:  
Optical equipment:  
Light Conditions:  
Description:        Size of bird:  
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
We received a call this morning (4/15/16) at the office from Marilyn who relayed that Mike Defelice and Brian Ennis at the QC Paddle board rental reported seeing a frigatebird. Kevin Wheeler and I looked but could not find the frigatebird at Quail or Sand Hollow mid morning; there was a big storm with huge winds that blew in and we figured it might have rode the winds back south.... It calmed for a while mid day and we again looked around Quail Creek to Sand Hollow SP without luck. Seth Topham and I stopped back by QCSP around 3:30 or so to photograph some terns and Seth spotted the frigatebird about 4:00p. Quinn, Seth and I watched it move along Quail Lake to the inflow area and then turn and ride the wind back out of sight over the dam (within a couple seconds). Seth and I then spent the rest of the afternoon running around the greater Quail Creek / Hurricane area chasing the frigatebird. We finally located it again flying over the SR-9 sewer ponds around 5:40 a
nd then managed to track it off and on until sunset. It could really cover some ground moving quickly in the big winds between Quail Creek Reservoir to Sand Hollow SP in a couple minutes. It spent a lot of time soaring above the Purgatory Flats but flew as far east as the Flora-tech fields and west to Coral Canyon. Kevin Wheeler showed up just as the sun was setting as we were watching it flying and chasing terns at Stratton Pond. We last saw it flying high above the Quail Creek dam around 8:15. Some time in there Christian and Molly Edwards, Melinda Bennion, Brook Watts, and a few curious passerbys, observed it as well.

Seth relocated the frigatebird flying around Stratton Pond ~ 9:00 on the morning of April 16th . It remained flying in the wind around the pond until 1:00, with occasional quick trips to Quail Creek. Apparently, it spent the afternoon at Sand Hollow. Seth and Kaylee, Maurice, Steve and Cindy, Tim Avery, Kenny Frisch, and a few others observed and photographed the frigatebird while at Stratton Pond on the 16th.

The frigatebird was reported flying over Sun River south of St. George on April 17th.

I relocated the frigatebird flying around the reservoir at Sand Hollow State Park on the 18th; it remained at Sand Hollow for the rest of the day. Kristen and I located the frigatebird flying around Quail Lake mid morning on April 18th.


Observed only in flight. Large dark bird with long narrow wings, long forked tail, and long narrow hooked bill. Overall black with dusky white head, throat, breast, and belly. Back, tail, vent, and wings uniformly black. Upperside of wings with indistinct pale carpal bar .and extremely long pointed outer primary. Underside of wings black except for a few pale feathers extending into axillaries at base of wings. Long narrow hooked bill uniformly grayish blue. Dusky white breast and belly with a few new dark feathers molting in. Eye black with pale blue orbital ring.
(see photos)
photos at:
Song or call & method of delivery:  
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Great Frigatebird: would show darker rufous in the head and breast than this bird shows at this age.

Lesser Frigatebird: first and second cycle would have much more distinct upperwing carpal bar, and more white feathering in the axillaries.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
References consulted:  
Description from: Notes taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Rick Fridell
Observer's address: Hurricane, UT
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: 04-16-17
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: description above copied from field notes.