The Frigatebird

by Bethany Montgomery

What Is The Frigatebird?

The great Frigatebird is a species of seabird found across ocean coasts. These birds have a 7 foot wingspan. There has been research done to show that these birds can stay in flight for up to two months at a time. This species of birds have been underestimated by many people about the way they live and how they stay in flight for such long periods at a time.

Where Are These Birds Found?

Frigatebirds are mainly found along the Gulf Coast. Mostly they stay around the Florida in North America, but very few of these birds wander off to other parts of the United States. They can also be found in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans during their breeding season. They are usually spotted around areas of ocean coasts and tropical islands with lots of space to roam and fly.

How Do Frigatebirds Get Food?

Frigatebirds do not land to catch their prey because it is very difficult for them to walk. They simply swoop down to the land or water’s surface to catch the food. This food consists of small fish, squid, jellyfish, crustaceans, young turtles, eggs, and birds. These birds never swim to catch their prey because they are unable to fly with wet wings and they cannot swim very well. Sometimes, they even fight other birds which forces the other birds to give up their meals to the Frigatebirds.


What Are Their Nesting Habits?

These birds do not breed alone. They breed in large groups with nests very close together. They typically don’t leave a bird by itself during nesting season. During mating season, male birds inflate their throat pouch which looks like a huge red balloon to call the females. Frigatebird nests are commonly found in mangroves, trees, or bushes about 20 feet above ground or water. Occasionally you will find a Frigatebird nest on the ground. These nests are made out of flimsy twigs and sticks. The materials for this nest are brought to the female by the male, and then the female builds the nest.


What About Frigatebirds’ Eggs And Their Young?

Frigatebirds lay only one white egg at a time. Both male and female sit on the egg for about 40-50 days until the egg hatches. The young birds are fed by both parents and are never by themselves in the nest until they are already half-grown. This is because if the young chicks are left unguarded at too young of an age, the other frigate birds  will eat the eggs or the chicks at the nest. The baby chicks are only about 20-24 weeks old when they go on their first flight. The mother bird feeds her young for around 16 more weeks after their first flight.





This is the blog run by the Writing for Media class.

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