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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Great Frigatebird Fregata minor

With their extraordinarily long wings and slender bodies, frigatebirds are unrivaled experts at gliding flight. The five species all have glossy black plumage, strong, hooked bills, and small, webbed feet. The males also have a bright red throat pouch, which they inflate during courtship displays. Despite weighing less than a large gull, the great frigatebird has a wingspan of up to 7 ft (2.3 m), allowing it to glide for hours while making only the merest flick of its wings. As it flies, the great frigatebird observes other sea birds as they feed, then pursues them to steal their catch. Great frigatebirds also hunt their own food, snapping it up from the sea’s surface. They nest in coastal bushes, where they make flimsy nests out of twigs.

Great Frigatebirdzoom image
  • Order Pelecaniformes
  • Length 34–39 in (86–100 cm)
  • Weight 3–4 lb (1.4–1.8 kg)
  • Habitat Coasts, islands (breeding); open ocean
  • Distribution Tropical regions in Indian Ocean and Pacific, sporadic in tropical Atlantic
Great Frigatebird habitat mapzoom image