Magnificent Frigatebird

Fregata magnificens




Frigatebirds (Fregatidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:


Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

40 - 50

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

2 - 20 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Sticks, grasses, and stems of weeds.





Magnificent Frigatebird: Large black seabird with orange throat patch inflated into a huge bright red-orange balloon when in courtship display. Bill is gray and hooked. Wings are long and narrow. Tail is forked; legs and feet are dark gray. Female has white breast, lacks throat patch, and has pink legs and feet. Juvenile has white head and breast and pale gray legs and feet. Frigatebirds have the longest wingspan, in proportion to weight, of all birds.

Range and Habitat

Magnificent Frigatebird: During breeding season, found in coastal Florida and in tropical Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. During migration, occurs from the coast of North Carolina south to Florida and west to Texas; also on the coast of California. Preferred habitats include ocean coasts, bays, and islands; nests on mangrove islands.

Breeding and Nesting

Magnificent Frigatebird: One, rarely two, white eggs are laid in a flimsy platform made of sticks, grass, and stems, usually built in a mangrove, other tree, or bush, 2 to 20 feet above the ground or water; sometimes nests on the ground. Incubation ranges from 40 to 50 days and is carried out by both parents. Most females do not breed every year.

Foraging and Feeding

Magnificent Frigatebird: Eats small fish, squid, jellyfish, crustaceans, hatchling sea turtles, young terns, birds, and their eggs; also scavenges for scraps around fishing boats and docks. Forages by shallow plunge diving or snatching food from the surface; chases terns and forces them to drop their catch.


Magnificent Frigatebird: Clacks bill and utters nasal "kack" or "ka-ack" during display.

Similar Species

Magnificent Frigatebird: Double-crested Cormorant is smaller, has a darker bill, orange facial skin, bright blue-green eyes, and a rounded tail.

The upper front part of a bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X