Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens


Of the three most widespread species of frigatebirds the Magnificient is much more coastal, less pelagic than the other two: Greater Fregata minor, and Lesser Fregata ariel. Furthermore the bulk of its distribution is in the New World, with an African offshoot population. As such, this is overwhelmingly the most likely frigatebird that one can observe from the mainland of the American continent, and it can be quite common along its shores from central Mexico and southern Florida south to coastal Ecuador and southern Brazil. Frigatebirds are well known as kleptoparasites, although in general the pelagic species can be very adept at fishing, particularly on flying fish! Coastally, the Magnificent Frigatebird is most commonly observed foraging as a kleptoparasite, or foraging for offal behind fishing vessels, large or small. On several nesting islands in the Pacific it is sympatric with the Great Frigatebird, for example on the Galapagos Islands. Although the two species resemble each other closely, particularly so in adult males, there is no evidence of hybridization although admittedly it would be difficult to confirm without using molecular techniques.

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© Gerrit Vyn

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: