It has occurred as a vagrant as far from its normal range as the Isle of Man, Denmark, Spain, England, and British Columbia. In North America, Magnificent Frigatebirds are seen most commonly in Florida. Like the genus name, the English term is derived from the French mariners' name for the bird la frégate—a frigate or fast warship. In its eleventh year, North America’s premier bird photography competition showcases the splendor of birds through captivating photographs. It spends days and nights on the wing, with an average ground speed of 10 km/h (6.2 mph), covering up to 223 km (139 mi) before landing. Breeds in colonies, with nests often very close together. Both parents feed young. Timing and Routes of Migration. Photo: Peter Cavanagh/Audubon Photography Awards. Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The magnificent frigatebird is widespread in the tropical Atlantic, breeding colonially in trees in Florida, the Caribbean and also along the Pacific coast of the Americas from Mexico to Ecuador, including the Galápagos Islands. Nesting colonies are widely dispersed among islands and coasts of tropical America (and very locally off west Africa), but nonbreeders and immatures are seen far from colonies at all seasons. Nests on islands, usually small islands with dense growth of mangroves or other trees or shrubs. Forages in the same way over land, taking prey from beaches without landing. This included evidence of recent gene flow among Pacific and Atlantic localities, likely across the Isthmus of Panama. [5], The magnificent frigatebird was originally considered to belong to the species Fregata aquila but in 1914 the Australian ornithologist Gregory Mathews proposed that the magnificent frigatebird should be considered as a separate species with the binomial name Fregata magnificens. The magnificent frigatebird is widespread in the tropical Atlantic, breeding colonially in trees in Florida, the Caribbean and also along the Pacific coast of the Americas from Mexico to Ecuador, including the Galápagos Islands. Our email newsletter shares the latest programs and initiatives. This name was used by the English explorer William Dampier in his book An Account of a New Voyage Around the World published in 1697:[7], The Man-of-War (as it is called by the English) is about the bigness of a Kite, and in shape like it, but black; and the neck is red. Let us send you the latest in bird and conservation news. Dispersal and Site Fidelity. Drinking, Pellet-Casting, and … [13], This bird makes a shallow platform nest on top of both trees and bushes on islands and cays with mangroves. Apparently not truly migratory. The Magnificent Frigatebird has a large range, estimated globally at 50,000 to 100,000 square kilometers. [12] Males are all-black with a scarlet throat pouch that is inflated like a balloon in the breeding season. A fossil frigatebird has been recovered from a deposit in England from the Lower Eocene. Physical characteristics. Based on this study, the Galápagos population has not been exchanging any genes with their mainland counterparts for several hundred thousand years. [14], This species feeds mainly on fish, squid, jellyfish and crustaceans. Photo: Howard Arndt/Audubon Photography Awards, Great Egret. However, male frigatebirds have been recorded dispersing great distances after departing a breeding colony—one mal… Peter Cavanagh/Audubon Photography Awards. Speak out against the Yazoo Backwater Pumps which would drain 200,000 acres of crucial bird habitat. Watching a Magnificent Frigatebird float in the air truly is, as the name implies, magnificent. Total breeding cycle for female thus lasts about a year; most females probably do not breed every year. Are the Trump Administration's Environmental Rollbacks Built to Last? Mostly fish. Spread the word. Magnificent Frigatebirds range along coasts and islands in tropical and subtropical waters. Overwhelmed and Understaffed, Our National Wildlife Refuges Need Help. National Audubon Society Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future. Frigatebirds feed on fish taken in flight from the ocean's surface (often flying fish), and sometimes indulge in kleptoparasitism, harassing other birds to force them to regurgitate their food. In good light, black coloration can show purplish sheen. However, it lacks a white axillary spur, and juveniles show a distinctive diamond-shaped belly patch. In Galapagos. [5] The etymology of the name was given by French naturalist Jean-Baptiste du Tertre when describing the magnificent frigatebird in 1667. [14], The magnificent frigatebird lays a clutch of one clear white egg that measures 68 by 47 millimetres (2.7 by 1.9 in) on average. The only other bird known to spend days and nights on the wing is the common swift. In the non-breeding season, it can be found from the coast of North Carolina south to Florida and west to Texas. Overall black with extremely long, deeply forked tail and angular wings. The Magnificent Frigatebird has a large range, estimated globally at 50,000 to 100,000 square kilometers. Legal Notices Privacy Policy Contact Us. Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures. It’s the least you can do. The magnificent frigate breeds and lives from Mexico to Ecuador (including the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador), as well as in Florida and the Caribbean. Help power unparalleled conservation work for birds across the Americas, Stay informed on important news about birds and their habitats, Receive reduced or free admission across our network of centers and sanctuaries, Access a free guide of more than 800 species of North American birds, Discover the impacts of climate change on birds and their habitats, Learn more about the birds you love through audio clips, stunning photography, and in-depth text. Nest: Site usually in mangroves, trees, or bushes 2-20' above ground or water, sometimes on ground. At the well-watched Dry Tortugas, did not begin nesting until 1988. Bald Eagle. Young: Both parents feed young. Can This Critically Endangered Bird Survive Australia's New Climate Reality? The global population of this bird is estimated at 200,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. Oceanic coasts, islands. Lives of North American Birds. [14], A scientific study which examined genetic and morphological variation in magnificent frigatebirds found both expected and also highly unexpected results. [16], Given these findings, the Galápagos population of this tropical seabird may be a genetically distinct species warranting a separate conservation status. Habitat 44 Perfect Gifts for the Bird and Nature Lovers in Your Life, How the Evening Grosbeak Got Its Misleading Name. Their range coincides with availability of food such as flying fish, and with the trade winds, which provide the windy conditions that facilitate their flying. Most recognize this species for the inflatable red gular sac shown on adult males but their remarkably long wings, forked tail, and piratical lifestyle make this species an incredible sight no matter what age or sex. After forcing the other seabird to regurgitate its meal, the magnificent frigatebird will dive and catch the prey before it hits the surface of the water. Climate threats facing the Magnificent Frigatebird. It measures 89–114 cm (35–45 in) in length, has a wingspan of 2.17–2.44 m (7.1–8.0 ft) and weighs 1.1–1.59 kilograms (2.4–3.5 lb).