Fregata magnificens Mathews, 1914, Barrington Island, Galбpagos.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Magnificent frigatebird; French: Frйgate superbe; German: Prachtfregattvogel; Spanish: Rabihorcato Magnнfico.
This is the largest frigatebird, with a body length of 41–44 in (103–112 cm), a wing span of 91 in (230 cm), and weight of 3.1–3.3 lb (1.4–1.5 kg). The female has a white breast and head and brownish upper-wing coverts, while the male has a mostly black body, with some white on the chest and a prominent red throat sac that is greatly inflated during sexual display.
Occurs in tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans of the Americas. Breeds as far west as the Galбpagos Islands.
Inhabits tropical and subtropical coastal waters, often near mangrove forest.
Outstanding fliers, they often soar to great heights. They are silent at sea but may be noisy at the breeding colony, where they make harsh, guttural notes during courtship.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Feed on flying fish skillfully caught in the air, on other small fish, and on squid and other marine animals snatched at the sea’s surface. They also feed on fishery offal and discarded bycatch and may predate the eggs and young of other seabirds. In addition, they feed on meals that other seabirds are harassed into disgorging in flight.
Females lay a single egg in a low nest, usually built in a mangrove tree or shrub. The egg is incubated by both parents for about 50 days. The chick is naked when born but fully feathered at around 140 days. It is fed regurgitated food by both parents. First flight occurs around 149–207 days after hatching. Sexual maturity is at 5–7 years.
Not threatened. Some local populations are declining because of disturbance or destruction of nesting sites and declines of food abundance caused by overfishing, but the species overall is not considered at risk.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Not of much importance to people, except for the economic benefits of ecotourism related to birdwatching.
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