Species Index

Fregata minor
(Gmelin, 1789)

Common Name: Great Frigatebird

Distribution: 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. They are rarely seen offshore from the New South Wales coastline.

Ecological Notes: Flying fish are the most common prey 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, (a strategy of stealing food from another species), is a common behaviour, with individuals chasing other nesting seabirds (boobies and tropicbirds in particular) in order to make them regurgitate their food.

Additional Notes: 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. Nesting takes place in trees and bushes on offshore islands.

References: eBird Australia at Great Frigatebird Accessed 14 August 2023.

Wikipedia. “Great Frigatebird.” Last modified 20 February 2020.