Frigatebird | The frigatebird is a large species of sea-bird that has an enormous wingspan that often exceeds two meters in length. Male frigatebirds are most commonly known for their red throat pouch, which are inflated to attract female frigatebirds during the mating season.
The frigatebird (also known as the man of war bird and the pirate bird) is a species of sea-bird found in warmer, tropical regions. Frigatebirds are thought to be most closely related to pelicans giving rise to another name for them, which is the frigate pelican.
Frigatebirds are generally black in colour although some frigatebirds look slightly browner than black. Outside of the mating season, male frigatebirds and female frigatebirds can be easily identified due to the fact that the female frigatebird has a white patch on her underside.
There are five different species of frigatebird that inhabit tropical islands and coasts, with the majority of frigatebird individuals being found in the Pacific Ocean although some do inhabit areas of both the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. The magnificent frigatebird, the Ascension frigatebird, the Christmas frigatebird, the great frigatebird and the lesser frigatebird are the five different frigatebird species.
The frigatebird has the largest wingspan in comparison to it's body of any bird species in the world, so the frigatebird is naturally an adept pilot. Frigatebirds have been known to stay in the air for nearly a whole week and only land on the rocky cliffs to breed or to rest.
Unlike the incredible flying ability of the frigatebird, the frigatebird is unable to walk that well and cannot swim. Frigatebirds have a diet that consists of marine animals and so frigatebirds have to pluck their prey from the water without landing as they are unable to take-off from a flat surface such as water.
Frigatebirds are sea-birds and therefore tend to have a meat-based carnivorous diet. Firgatebirds primarily eat fish including flying fish, along with crustaceans, molluscs and even small sea turtles.
Due to the large size of the frigatebird and the fact that the frigatebird spends the majority of it's life in the air, frigatebirds have few natural predators with humans being the main predator of the frigatebird. Introduced species such as rats, stoats and domestic cats are commonly found hunting frigatebirds and their eggs on the land.
Female frigatebirds lay only one egg every couple of years as the frigatebird chicks taken an average of 9 months to rear. Both the male frigatebird and the female frigatebird feed their chick for the first few months but the male frigatebird will then leave the colony leaving the female frigatebird to do the rest of the rearing by herself.