Any 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.
Variants of FRIGATE BIRD
frigate bird or man-o'-war bird
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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