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Magnificent Frigatebird

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About the Magnificent Frigatebird

Also known as: Man O'War

The Magnificent Frigatebird is widespread in the tropical Atlantic, breeding colonially in trees in Florida, the Caribbean and Cape Verde Islands. It also breeds along the Pacific coast of the Americas from Mexico to Ecuador including the Galapagos Islands.

Males are all black with a scarlet throat pouch which is inflated like a balloon in the breeding season. Although the feathers are black, the scapular feathers are iridescent and produce a purple colour when they refract sunlight.

The Magnificent Frigatebird is silent in flight, but makes various rattling sounds at its nest. Frigatebirds never land on water, and always take their food items in flight.

Details & Stats

Hatched Added to Birdorable on: 15 September 2006
Scientific Name Fregata magnificens
  • Pelecaniformes
  • Fregatidae
  • Fregata
  • F. magnificens
Birdorable Family Waterbirds
Conservation Status Least Concern
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
(as of 15 July 2017)
Units: Imperial Metric
39 inches
85 inches
Range West Africa North America Central America Caribbean South America United States (East)

International Names

  • Tesourão (Brazilian)
  • Fregatka Vznešená (Czech)
  • Pragtfregatfugl (Danish)
  • Amerikaanse Fregatvogel (Dutch)
  • Keisarifregattilintu (Finnish)
  • Frégate Superbe (French)
  • Prachtfregattvogel (German)
  • Fregata Magnifica (Italian)
  • アメリカグンカンドリ (Amerikagunkandori) (Japanese)
  • Praktfregattfugl (Norwegian)
  • Fregata Wielka (Polish)
  • Великолепный фрегат (Russian)
  • Rabihorcado Magnífico (Spanish)
  • Praktfregattfågel (Swedish)

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The Magnificent Frigatebird sure lives up to its name; male birds have a magnificent red throat pouch which is inflated like a balloon in the breeding season. This is the only time ... more