Home > South America > Ecuador > Galapagos Islands > Galápagos Overview > Galápagos Wildlife Guide > Sea Birds - Galápagos > Frigatebird
Page Rating
Content Quality:

Page Importance:
Author Pick:
Close Map

Book a Hotel or Hostel

Hotels Hostels & Budget


Check in Date

Check out Date

Number of Rooms

Top Ecuador




The Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens, fragata real) is the larger of the two species of frigatebirds found in the Galápagos, by about 50 cm. Male magnificent frigatebirds can be also be distinguished from the other species, the great frigatebird, by the purple sheen cast on his jet-black feathers and blue circles around the eyes. Females are slightly larger than males and also entirely black, except for her white breast and shoulders. Immature frigatebirds have a white head and neck and a pale beak.


Male frigatebirds are most recognizable by their red skin flaps, which they can inflate to football-sized balloons in about 25-minutes as a way to attract females. Males construct nests out of twigs in low trees or shrubs and wait in the nests with their pouches inflamed until a female arrives to copulate. Frigatebirds spend much of their time offshore, but return to island havens to mate, nest, and rear their young.


Since frigatebirds do not secrete enough oils to waterproof their feathers, they cannot swim, even though they are sea birds. As such, they often steal food from other birds, especially the excellent blue-footed booby fishermen, or force them to regurgitate the food. Often times, frigatebirds will raise their young near blue-footed booby colonies so that they have a food source nearby and readily available. Because of this behavior, frigatebirds are considered kleptoparasites or pirates.

Magnificent frigatebirds can be found on North Seymour, Punta Pitt (San Cristóbal), and Genovesa.


The Great Frigatebird (fregata menor, fragata común) is a bit smaller than the magnificent frigatebird and has a green sheen to its black feathers. It also has the same courtship and kleptoparasitistic behaviors.

Great frigatebirds can be found on North Seymour, Punta Suarez (Española), and Punta Espinosa (Fernandina).


Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to The Galápagos Islands: Red-Billed Tropicbird, Nazca Booby, Sea Birds - Galápagos, Fish in the Galápagos, Marine Iguana, The Galápagos Fishing War, Lava Heron, Parrot Fish, Spotted Eagle Ray and Flightless Cormorant.

04 Jun 2007

View Ecuador Map

South America | Central America and Mexico | Antarctica |
Advertise | Anúnciese | Jobs | Alliances | Alianzas | Terms of Use | Contact Us | About Us | Blog | Administradores |
You must register as an owner for access to these listing tools and benefits.

Notification of new reviews: receive your latest reviews by e-mail

Customized request-a-review link: encourage guests to spread the word about your property

Our owners' newsletter: stay informed about our latest tools and benefits for you

User login

Enter your username and password here in order to log into the website:


Create a new V!VA account

Forgot Password