Major nesting populations are located in the tropical Pacific, including the Coral Sea, and Indian Oceans, as well as a small population in the South Atlantic. Great frigatebirds undertake regular migrations across their range, both regular trips and more infrequent widespread dispersals.
Flying fish are the most common dietary item with other fish species and squid eaten as well. Prey is snatched while in flight, either from just below the surface or from the air in the case of flying fish flushed from the water. Kleptoparasitism is a common behaviour, with individuals chasing other nesting seabirds (boobies and tropicbirds in particular) in order to make them regurgitate their food.
Both sexes have a patch of skin at the throat - the gular sac. In males the sac can be inflated to resemble a red balloon-like structure to attract a mate.