The Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) is a seabird of the Frigatebird family Fregatidae. With a length of 89–114 centimeters (35–45 in) it is the largest species of Frigatebird. It occurs over tropical and subtropical waters off America, between northern Mexico and Ecuador on the Pacific coast and between Florida and southern Brazil along the Atlantic coast. There are also populations on the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific and the Cape Verde islands in the Atlantic.
The Magnificent Frigatebird is a large, lightly built seabird with brownish-black plumage, long narrow wings and a deeply forked tail. The male has a striking red gular sac which it inflates to attract a mate. The female is slightly larger than the male and has a white breast and belly. Frigatebirds feed on fish taken in flight from the ocean’s surface (often flying fish), and sometimes indulge in kleptoparasitism, harassing other birds to force them to regurgitate their food. [Wikipedia]
Beach-goers delight in this large, black pterodactyl-like bird that soars effortlessly on tropical breezes with hardly a flap, using its deeply forked tail to steer. Watching a Magnificent Frigatebird float in the air truly is, as the name implies, magnificent. These master aerialists are also pirates of the sky, stealing food from other birds in midair. Males have a bright red pouch on the throat, which they inflate like a balloon to attract females. Females, unlike most other seabirds, look different than males with their white chest. [All About Birds]
Magnificent Frigatebird Facts [All About Birds]
- The Magnificent Frigatebird spends most of its life flying effortlessly over the ocean. It rarely lands on the water even though it has webbed feet because unlike other seabirds it lacks waterproof feathers.
- The Frigatebird is sometimes called the “man-o-war bird” because it harasses other birds until they regurgitate recently captured food, which the Frigatebird snatches in midair.
- Learning how to chase other birds and steal meals takes practice. Young Frigatebirds hold sticks in their mouths and chase each other. When one of them drops the stick, the other dives below to retrieve it.
- The oldest known Magnificent Frigatebird was at least 19 years, 9 months old when it was recaptured and rereleased in the Lesser Antilles during a scientific study.