The Conference Call of the Birds | Magnificent Frigatebird
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Magnificent Frigatebird

National bird of Antigua & Barbuda

About This Bird

Magnificent Frigatebird

Fregata Magnificens


Antigua & Barbuda

Motto: Each Endeavouring, All Achieving


The magnificent frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) is the representative of the Caribbean nation of Antigua & Barbuda (Spanish for ancient and bearded), located in the middle of the Leeward Islands around 17 degrees north of the equator. But the Magnificent Frigatebird can be found all over the tropical Atlantic and individuals have been known to travel as far from their normal range as the Isle of Man.


The magnificent frigatebird is 100 cm (39 in) long with a 215 cm (85 in) wingspan. Males are all-black with a scarlet throat pouch called a gular sac that is inflated like a balloon in the breeding season. Females are black, but have a white breast and lower neck sides, a brown band on the wings, and a blue eye-ring. Immature birds have a white head and underparts.

The magnificent frigatebird is silent in flight, but makes various rattling sounds at its nest.

This species feeds mainly on fish, and attacks other seabirds to force them to disgorge their meals. In the past it was sometimes known as the Man Of War, reflecting its rakish lines, speed and its habit of stealing from other birds, just like a pirate. In Antigua & Barbuda they are known as “Weather Birds” because they circle inland when a storm is approaching. Frigatebirds never land on water, and always take their food items in flight. They can spend days and nights on the wing, the only bird to do this other than the common swift.