Greater Frigatebird

Greater Frigatebirds are long-distance fliers and spend most of their life flying over the ocean with a gliding, rarely flapping flight.  Unlike other seabirds, the feathers have poor waterproofing and the feet are not webbed.

greater frigatebird
Great Frigatebird © Peter Chadwick

They cannot land on the sea or dive for food, but must pick prey from the water surface or attack other birds to male them give up their own prey.  They build twiggy  nests in the tops of mangroves on Aldabra.  The males use an inflated bright red throat pouch to display to females; outside the breeding season the pouch is usually invisible.  Young birds are dependent on the parents for over a year, so the birds can only breed every couple of years.

Like many seabird species, Great Frigatebirds are long-lived; one survived for 34 years.

Facts

Scientific name: Fregata minor

Wingspan: 205 – 230 cm
Population in the Seychelles: At least 4,000 breeding pairs, many non-breeders
World distribution: Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Ocean
Distribution in Seychelles: Abundant throughout Seychelles, but only breeds at Aldadra and nearly islands
Nest: In mangroves. On egg laid
Diet: Flying fish, fish stolen from other seabirds, baby turtles.
Identification: A huge black seabird with long wings. Male is all black, female has white chest patch and juvenile white chest patch and head

See more

Species Fact Sheet at BirdLife Data Zone

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Seychelles Nature, Green HealthClimate Change, Biodiversity Conservation & Sustainability Organisation

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