Beliz Pterosaur [Update: misidentified Frigate Bird]

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Yesterday I had the pleasure of interviewing an eyewitness of a possible pterosaur that had flown over the coast of Belize (Central America) in 2006. Actually, Vito Kobliha and another eyewitness saw three long-tailed flying creatures. The apparent pterosaurs were high and rather far off, but Kobliha had the impression that they were not ordinary birds.

Videotaping three apparent living pterosaurs with a professional camera—that set this sighting apart from other sightings. I hope to have a copy of his video soon, so that I can analyze the footage.

Bat Misidentification Shot Down

Featherless flying creatures with long tails are unlikely to be misidentified bats. No bat known to science (officially classified that is) has a long tail, at least not to my knowledge. We need to look at the obvious interpretation first, not blindly hold onto dogma by insisting on some kind of misidentification.

That does not mean I will not be looking at the possibility of a misidentified bird, when I view the video footage from Belize. I will scrutinize the video carefully and compare the three flying objects with images of birds that fly in Belize and that have long legs that are held behind them during flight.

From the above-linked web site on the pterosaur in Cuba:

Mr. Kuhn had assumed that the two long-tailed pterosaurs he observed were exceptional cases and that short tails were what would be expected of modern living pterosaurs. That was before his 2010 interview with cryptozoologist Jonathan Whitcomb. Most sightings do involve long tails.

Misidentification Possibility for a Model Pterodactyl

Regarding the sighting in southwest Greensburg, Pennsylvania, in 2006:

There is no mechanical model, of a pterosaur, that catches and eats ducks or rats. Let me explain with reference to this apparent pterosaur in Pennsylvania, quoting from both the Live Pterosaur blog mentioned and the source for that posting on that blog.

“The wing span appeared to be at least six feet . . . you could clearly make out a long ‘horn’ or ‘cone’ type protrusion coming out of the back of its skull, which was at the end of an elongated neck . . . This ‘bird’ also seemed to have a long tail . . . As it was almost directly over us we all agreed we couldn’t see feathers anywhere and my student Carrie said ‘It looks like pterodactyl . . .  doesn’t it?’ . . . There are always ducks in that water as well as rats and other things. When she came back . . . she said it had taken off, Carrie said it was in the water splashing and eating or grabbing something in its mouth.”

Model Pterosaur Misidentification in Belize?

Three factors discourage this interpretation (mechanical model of a pterosaur) for the 2006 Belize sighting. This Central American country is a somewhat unlikely place for somebody to fly a mechanical model of a pterosaur. More telling, perhaps, is that three of them were flying together and at high altitude, at least high for models. No, this is not a reasonable interpretation, this misidentified flying model idea.

[Update: on examining the video footage, it was an obvious Frigate Bird. Sorry for the false alarm with this post. JDW]

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8 comments on “Beliz Pterosaur [Update: misidentified Frigate Bird]

  1. Pingback: Pterosaurs in Central America « In a Nutshell

  2. Pingback: Modern Pterosaurs in Central America | Modern Pterosaur

  3. Hi Jonathan,

    Do you know how long it will be till you get to analyse the film taken of the alleged pterosaurs? This must be one of the few occasions where film has been taken for analysis. I hope the footage turns out to be positive.

    • Reply to Frank
      The eyewitness who has the video will be leaving for Europe in a few days, and the footage is among many hours of video which needs to be searched. He has narrowed it down somewhat but it is not sure that he will find it before his trip. (He works in film production.)

      • While waiting for the video footage of these three flying creatures, we need to remember that they were high up and at a distance. Even with a recording in High Definition (and with a hand-held camera) there is a possibility that these were three birds with long legs held behind them, rather than three long-tailed pterosaurs. Analysis of the footage might tell us which. I have investigated reports of apparent living pterosaurs for eight years now; I should survive for a few more days.

  4. Hi Jonathan,

    Maybe the shape of the wings will give a good indication of whether the creatures are birds or not. This is a dintinguishing feature that separates birds from pterosaurs.

  5. Unfortunately, the videographer found the footage in question and informed me that it was only flamingos at a distance. I continue to hope for a photo or video of a pterosaur.

  6. Sorry for the false alarm, but when I examined the video footage myself, it seemed quite obvious: two birds, one of which was an obvious Frigate Bird. I’ll be more careful in the future, for the eyewitness who recorded the video was rather vague when he described to me the appearances of the two flying creatures.