AppearanceThe Magnificent Frigatebird is 100 cm long with a 215 cm wingspan. Males are all black with a scarlet throat pouch which is inflated like a balloon in the breeding season. Although the feathers are black, the scapular feathers produce a purple iridescence when they reflect sunlight. 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.
This species is very similar to the other frigatebirds and is similarly sized to all but the Lesser Frigatebird. However, it lacks a white axillary spur, and juveniles show a distinctive diamond-shaped belly patch.
DistributionIt is widespread in the tropical Atlantic, breeding colonially in trees in Florida, the Caribbean and Cape Verde Islands. It also breeds along the Pacific coast of the Americas from Mexico to Ecuador including the Galapagos Islands.
It has occurred as a vagrant as far from its normal range as the Isle of Man, Denmark, Spain, England, and British Columbia.
BehaviorThe Magnificent Frigatebird is silent in flight, but makes various rattling sounds at its nest.
FoodThis species feeds mainly on fish, and also attacks other seabirds to force them to disgorge their meals. Frigatebirds never land on water, and always take their food items in flight.
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