Females are mostly brown with a white throat and breast, males are mostly all black but they have a curious and conspicuous red throat pouch which they can inflate into a large red balloon to attract females. The characteristic split tail easily distinguishes the Frigate from any other seabird. Tthere is another species called the Great Frigate bird which forages far out to sea and is much less likely to be seen from land as their Magnificent cousins.
The Keys are not just about pelagics and seabirds, there are numerous hammocks and mangrove swamps along the route South. I captured this Gray Catbird in a hammock near Key West. This secretive bird is more often heard than seen and is named after its cat-like meeowing call.
The abundance of fish in the shallow waters around the Keys make easy pickings for the numerous Ospreys that hunt here and nest in the oak and gumbo-limbo trees on the larger islands. I like this photo as it captures the grace and power of a magnificent raptor.
Although the Pied-Billed Grebe is a less conspicuous bird than the Ibis I like the light in the photo below, taken on the moat around Fort Zachary Taylor in Key West. The late afternoon sun through the surrounding trees gave the water a lovely iridescent green glow that frames the bird nicely. This bird is the equivalent of our European Little Grebe, but of course everything in America is bigger.
The Little Blue Heron (Below) is a small, elegant heron equally at home in the glades or on the brackish shoreline of Florida Bay. Interesting to note that first year birds are pure white, while adults are blue with a maroon tinted neck.