frigate bird


: any of a family (Fregatidae, containing a single genus Fregata) of tropical seabirds having a forked tail and large wingspans that are noted for aggressively taking food from other birds

Illustration of frigate bird

Illustration of frigate bird

Examples of frigate bird in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Sleeping at sea Some animals have unusual evolutionary adaptations to fit in sleep while avoiding predators and other risks, such as sleep-chewing cows, sleep-standing horses and frigate birds that can sleep and fly at the same time. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 20 Apr. 2023 This sustains plankton at the bottom of the food chain — an effect that's intensified during a La Niña. Pelicans and a soaring frigate bird circle fishermen in the waters around Santa Fe Island in the Galápagos, presumably hoping for a free hand-out of fish. Tom Yulsman, Discover Magazine, 15 Feb. 2023 Even the famously long-flying frigate bird can only spend around two months in the air. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 27 Oct. 2016 One time a great frigate bird perched on a curtain rod and ballooned its ruby red throat up to the size of an elephant’s goiter. Devin Murphy, Outside Online, 19 Jan. 2021 Mammoth tusks carved with hunting scenes and with images of Polynesian chiefs, and bone spears from the Aleutian islands, rubbed dusty shoulders with fragments of Indian canoes, a giant stuffed frigate bird and war clubs from the Fiji islands. Gary Kamiya, San Francisco Chronicle, 5 Mar. 2021 The nests of various boobies and frigate birds are scattered amidst the greenery underfoot, while their owners dot the sky overhead by the dozens. National Geographic, 2 Jan. 2020 In front of us, frigate birds and gray pelicans paraglided on the wind. Los Angeles Times, 7 Sep. 2019 Danae explained the Pacific birds, including the magnificent frigate birds, with their Jurassic wingspans. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, 28 June 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'frigate bird.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1738, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of frigate bird was in 1738

Dictionary Entries Near frigate bird

Cite this Entry

“Frigate bird.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition

frigate bird

: any of several seabirds noted for their power of flight and the habit of robbing other birds of fish

called also man-o'-war bird

More from Merriam-Webster on frigate bird

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