So imagine, this is like a tropical paradise to me. Gorgeous blue sky, ocean for as far as you can see, blue as can be, it’s just gorgeous. And here are these beautiful black birds with red throat pouches doing these displays on an island in the Dry Tortugas. It just makes for this incredibly beautiful experience. What we’re hearing is the tapping noise of a male Frigatebird displaying in front of females. And what he does – he has a red throat pouch that he can inflate and he can make a drumming sound with it. So you hear the clapping of his bill and you also hear the drumming that’s coming out of that pouch. The males were especially animated when a female would come soaring overhead. And imagine, these are very large birds and they are just hanging in the wind, and here’d be a male perched on the dead mangrove, and he just puts his all into making this pouch big and red and he drums it, clatters it, just showing her I’m the best.

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Magnificent Frigatebird males inflate red throat pouches and drum on them with their clacking bills in the presence of females. Witnessing this bizarre mating display was an entertaining field experience for Martha Fisher, an audio archivist at the Cornell Lab.