Frigatebird (Fregatidae) | Characteristics, Habitats & Amazing Facts

Name – Frigatebird

Scientific Name : Fregatidae

Type : Birds 

Age : 15 to 25 years.

Diet : Carnivore

Physical Characteristics:

Height : 65cm – 100cm

Weight : 0.9 kg – 1.9 kg

Colour : Brown, Red, Black, White

 Skin Type : Feathers

Wingspan : 150 cm – 250 cm

Current Population : 59,000 and 71,000 breeding pairs

Current Population Trend : Decreasing 

Native : coast of North Carolina south to Florida and west to Texas.

Facts

Main Prey : Fish, Crab, Squid

Habitat : Tropical coasts and islands 

Predators : Humans, Rats, Cats

Favorite Food : Fish

Amazing Facts

  • They even have tiny webbed feet. Males can be marked during the courting season by their bright red inflated pouch on their throats, known as a gular pouch. When they are attempting to attract females, this region of their body expands to the size of a person’s head. The undersides of adult females have white markings.
  • Black feathers protect the face and legs. They have 11 main flight feathers and 23 secondary flight feathers on their tails.
  • A frigatebird is very aerial due to its large wingspan and compact body. They will soar for extended periods of time without having to flap their wings. As a result, these birds spend a lot of time travelling and can remain in the air for days or even weeks at a time, only returning to land when it’s time to roost.
  • In addition to capturing fish and other sea animals, these birds will also consume the eggs or chicks of other seabird species, such as shearwaters, terns, petrels, jellyfish, and boobies.
  • Humans are the most dangerous to this bird. Many of the fish they consume are overfished, reducing the amount of food available to them and placing more frigatebirds at risk of extinction. Many of them also nest in dense colonies, which means that if there is a local or natural disaster, a significant portion of their population may be wiped out.
  • They usually live-in larger colonies of up to 5,000 birds, but their breeding groups are much smaller, ranging from 10 to 30 birds and probably up to 100. There is no clear breeding season for frigatebirds; they can breed at any time of year, sometimes preferring to breed when the dry season begins and food becomes more difficult to find.
  • They put on a mating display in order to attract a female. They vibrate their wings and point their bills up as they inflate their broad red gular pouch. A male vibrates its bill during this display to create a drumming sound for the females. When a female selects a male, she will fly to him and allow him to place her bill inside of his.
  • Chicks have no feathers when they hatch from their nests. They begin to grow a white down covering after about two weeks. For the first four to six weeks, the male and female share the burden of keeping a constant eye on their chick.
  • They also both feed their chick for about three months. After this time, the male leaves the colony, leaving the female to care for the chick on her own. The chicks spend the first five to six months of their lives in their nests.
  • Between the ages of 20 and 24 weeks, the chicks fly for the first time. Frigatebirds take longer than other birds to reach sexual maturity. Females normally reach this age between the ages of 8 and 9 years old, while males reach this age between the ages of 10 and 11 years old.

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