- 35–44.9 in
- 85.4–88.2 in
- 35.3–67 oz
- Frégate superbe (French)
- Tijerata de Mar, Fragata magnífica (Spanish)
- Frigatebirds are the only seabirds where the male and female look strikingly different.
- The breeding period of the Magnificent Frigatebird is exceptionally long and young fledglings are often still being fed by the female at one year of age.
- The male Magnificent Frigatebird abandons its mate and half-grown chick and leaves the breeding colony, presumably to molt and return for another breeding attempt with a different mate. The female cares for the young for over a year. This difference in parental care allows the male to breed each year while the female breeds only every other year.
- Although the Magnificent Frigatebird spends most of its life flying over the ocean, it rarely if ever lands on the water.
- The oldest known Magnificent Frigatebird was at least 19 years, 9 mnths old when it was recaptured and rereleased in the Lesser Antilles during a scientific study.
Breeding habitats include mangrove cays on coral reefs, and deciduous trees and bushes on dry islands. Feeding range while breeding includes shallow water within lagoons, coral reefs, and deep ocean out of sight of land. Ranges along coasts and offshore islands and out at sea.
Fish, squid, turtles, crabs, jellyfish, offal.
- Clutch Size
- 1 eggs
- Egg Description
- Condition at Hatching
- Naked and helpless.
Flat or slightly hollowed platform of sticks and twigs, some lined with finer material such as grass or vines. Placed on flat tops of low bushes or trees. Nests in colonies.
In a spectacular courtship display, male Magnificent Frigatebirds sit in varying size groups, throat sacs inflated, clattering their bills, waving their heads back and forth, quivering their wings, and calling to females flying overhead.Snatches food from surface of water while flying past, and chases other birds to force them to disgorge food, which is caught in flight before it hits the water.
There is little information on population trends of Magnificent Frigatebird, but they appear to be declining, The North American Waterbird Conservation Plan estimates a continental breeding population of 106,00-174,000 birds, rates the species a 13 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, and lists it as a Species of High Concern. Magnificent Frigatebird is on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, which lists bird species that are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered without conservation action. Declines are mainly due to human destruction of habitat for housing and resorts, and disturbance in colonies. Introduced predators on islands and over-fishing are also potential problems.
- Diamond, A. W., and E. A. Schreiber. 2002. Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens). In The Birds of North America, No. 601 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.
- Kushlan, J.A., et al. 2002. Waterbird conservation for the Americas: the North American Waterbird Conservation Plan, version 1. Waterbird Conservation for the Americas. Washington, DC.
- North American Bird Conservation Initiative, U.S. Committee. 2014. State of the Birds 2014 Report. U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, DC.
- USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. 2015. Longevity records of North American Birds.