- frigate bird
any predacious seabirds of the genus Fregata, having fully webbed feet. Also, frigatebird. Also called man-o'-war bird.[1730-40]
* * *or man-o'-war birdAny member of five species of large seabirds constituting the family Fregatidae, found worldwide along tropical and semitropical coasts and islands.About the size of a hen, frigate birds have extremely long, slender wings, which span up to about 8 ft (2.3 m), and long, deeply forked tails. Most adult males are all black; most females are marked with white below. Both sexes have a bare-skinned throat pouch, tiny feet, and a long hooked bill that is used to attack and rob other seabirds of their fish. The courting male's throat pouch becomes bright red and is inflated to the size of a person's head. Perhaps the most aerial of all birds except the swifts, frigate birds land only to sleep or tend the nest.Great frigate bird (Fregata minor)Jen and Des BartlettBruce Coleman Inc./EB Inc.
* * *▪ birdalso called man-o'-war birdany member of five species of large seabirds constituting the family Fregatidae (order Pelecaniformes). Frigate birds are about the size of a hen and have extremely long, slender wings, the span of which may reach to about 2.3 m (nearly 8 feet), and a long, deeply forked tail. In general, adult males are all black, and adult females are marked with white below. The birds have a bare-skinned throat pouch, which in courting males becomes bright red and is inflated, for display purposes, to the size of a person's head. Other distinguishing characteristics are the almost helpless tiny feet with four webbed toes, and a long hooked bill that is used in attacking and robbing other seabirds of their fish.The frigate bird is perhaps the most aerial of all birds except the swift and alights only to sleep or to tend its nest. The adult, with insufficient preening oil to waterproof its plumage, never willingly alights on the water, but it is unbelievably fast and skillful in the air, soaring effortlessly and often diving to recover falling fish dropped aloft by panic-stricken boobies or other seabirds. It also courses low over the water to seize fish.Found throughout the world along tropical and semitropical coasts and islands, the frigate bird usually keeps within 100 miles (160 km) of land, to which it must return to roost. It breeds in crowded colonies on islands. Both parents incubate the single white egg.The largest species (to about 115 cm [45 inches]) is the magnificent frigate bird, Fregata magnificens, found on both coasts of America, the Caribbean Sea, and Cape Verde. The great and lesser frigate birds, F. minor (see photograph—>) and F. ariel, breed on islands worldwide.
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