Magnificent Frigatebird

Silhouette SeabirdsSeabirds

Magnificent Frigatebird

Fregata magnificens
  • ORDER: Suliformes
  • FAMILY: Fregatidae
Basic Description

Beachgoers 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.

More ID Info
image of range map for Magnificent FrigatebirdRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

Find This Bird

Magnificent Frigatebirds soar along the coast in the southern United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean staying near water; a perfect excuse for a walk on the beach. They tend to take flight later in the afternoon when winds and thermals are greatest, helping keep them aloft. Look for their long and angular wings and slender silhouette soaring effortlessly alone or with a group of frigatebirds. If you hear gulls and seabirds making a ruckus, look up and you might find a frigatebird harassing them for their meal.

Other Names
  • Rabihorcado Magnífico (Spanish)
  • Frégate superbe (French)
  • Cool Facts