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The Frigate Bird

Updated on September 4, 2009
A flock of frigates.
A flock of frigates.

Frigate birds are classified as order Pelecaniformes, family Fregatidae, genus Fregata.

The frigate bird (also known as the the man-o'-war bird), are any of a group of tropical seabirds with thin hooked bills and long forked tails. Frigate birds have long pointed wings which may span 7 feet. Both sexes are black, but the males have an inflatable orange throat pouch that becomes bright red during the breeding season. Frigate birds nest in colonies. A single white egg is placed in the nest made of sticks on top of bushes, small trees, and rocks.

In proportion to its body weight the wing area of the frigate bird is greater than that of any other bird. For this reason it can soar for hours at a time and can fly more rapidly than any other seabird. If it lands on water, however, the bird has great difficulty in taking flight. Frigate birds feed chiefly on small fish, which they snatch from the surface of the sea or steal from other oceanic birds while they are in flight.

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