30 - 35 years
2.2 metres wingspan
2.3 metres wingspan
The great frigatebird is found across the Pacific and Indian Oceans, with a small population also in the South Atlantic. It is one of two frigatebird species found in Galapagos. Great and magnificent frigatebirds look very similar – both have black plumage, and the males have red throat pouches. However, male great frigatebirds have a green sheen on the plumage on their backs whereas magnificent frigatebirds have a purple sheen. Female frigatebirds are larger than males and have white breasts. Juveniles have white chests and heads.
The large wingspan of great frigatebirds allows them to soar over the ocean, rarely flapping their wings. However, on land they are more clumsy, with their short legs making it nearly impossible for them to walk. Their plumage isn’t waterproof so if they get wet, they must dry their feathers in the sun with wings fully extended, like a cormorant, before they can fly again.
Great frigatebirds in Galapagos
Click an image to view larger