Hurricane Irma did not just wipe out homes, infrastructure and livelihoods when it tore through the Caribbean island of Barbuda last September. The category five storm also wreaked havoc on the habitat of the tiny island’s world-famous frigatebird colony.
Codrington Lagoon is said to be the second-largest nesting area outside the Galapagos and has attracted tourists for decades.
But most of the erstwhile 10,000-strong frigatebird population disappeared in the immediate aftermath of the disaster when the catastrophic winds destroyed the mangroves in which they nest and breed.
The aptly named magnificent frigatebirds are famed for their colossal 7ft (2.1m) wingspan and the males’ spectacular show of flirting by puffing out their throats into a bright red balloon during mating season.
Earned the nickname “man o’ war birds” due to their habit of aggressively stealing food from other birds
Females select mates and form monogamous pairs for the duration of the breeding season
Females lay just one egg, every other year
Juvenile frigatebirds stay with the mother for up to two years
Graceful in flight, they are clumsy on land because of their short legs and small feetv