Great Frigatebird

Range Map
Fregata minor

Frigatebirds, while very capable of catching their own prey, are skilled kleptoparasites. They steal food from other birds, especially terns and boobies. Despite their well-earned reputation for thievery, frigatebirds capture most of their prey themselves from near the water’s surface.

The Great Frigatebird lives in tropical oceans from the Indian, Pacific and even a small population in the western South Atlantic Ocean.

Taxonomists recognise five subspecies of Great Frigatebird:

  • F. m. palmerstoni lives in the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the Hawaiian Islands. 
  • F. m. ridgwayi lives in the eastern Pacific Ocean, in places such as the Revillagigedo Islands, the Cocos Island, and the Galapagos Islands.
  • F. m. nicolli lives in the south Atlantic region off the coast of Brazil.
  • F. m. aldabrensis lives in the western Indian Ocean.
  • F. m. minor lives in the central and eastern Indian Ocean to southeastern Asia and the southwestern Pacific Ocean.

All my meetings with this species were near Isla Clarion and Isla Socorro during our 2017 science expedition to the Revillagigedo Islands. I think it’s safe to assume the birds I met were of the subspecies F. m. ridgwayi.

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