The large frigate is one of those few birds that spend almost their entire life in flight.
A large frigate has the highest ratio of wing size to weight compared to other birds: their wing size can reach from 205 to 230 cm, while body weight is only one and a half kilograms, and body length from 85 to 105 cm. But legs, on the contrary, are so small that a large frigate is almost unable to walk on the ground and cannot swim at all, since there are no membranes on its paws.
A distinctive feature of this bird is the W-shaped tail, with the help of which the frigate improves its maneuverability during flight.Great Frigate (Fregata minor).
The large frigate is one of the few seabirds that have sexual dimorphism in size and plumage. The size of the males is smaller than that of females, and their feather cover throughout the body is painted black, casting a greenish-violet sheen on the back. Another male can be identified by the skin bag located on the chest, which he inflates during the mating season to enormous sizes. In this case, its color becomes bright red. The male needs this jewelry exclusively to attract females. In females, the upper body is also black, but the feathers on the chest and belly are white. The color of the young is reminiscent of the color of females, however, the feathers on his back are not black, but brown.Female of a large frigate.
The habitat of large frigates is located in tropical waters, to be precise - from the 25th degree north to 25th degree south latitude. The view of large frigates combines five subspecies that differ in color and size.
Nesting colonies of large frigates are located on islands located in the Pacific Ocean, the western part of the Atlantic Ocean and the southern Indian Ocean.The male of a large frigate is the owner of a luxurious “bust”.
Since there are no predators of this type on the islands, large frigates may not be afraid to equip nests in shrubs, only half a meter above the ground. Before the construction of the nest begins, mating games take place between the large frigates. During this period, the males are located on the bushes, and begin to inflate their throat sacs, while lifting their heads up and spreading their wings. In addition, they demonstrate their vocal abilities. Females fly over this voting orchestra for several days and look after their partner. Large frigates breed once every two, and in some cases three, years.A red “apron” on the chest of a male of a large frigate is necessary during the mating season.
The time during which the breeding season falls is not the same everywhere and depends on the habitat of these birds. Obviously, this is due to periods of food availability. The nest of a large frigate has the form of a platform constructed of branches and other improvised materials. These birds nest in colonies, which can include about a hundred birds. For nests, places protected from the wind and heated by the sun are selected. In the clutch there is only one egg, which both parents incubate, changing at intervals of 3 to 18 days. The chick hatches after 1.5 months. He is completely helpless and completely naked. The chick of a large frigate grows slowly, begins to fly only after reaching the age of five months. For another 7-8 months, he does not leave the territory adjacent to the nest, feeding on what his parents bring him, and fully relying on their protection. The puberty of large frigates occurs at 5-7 years of age.
The large frigate eats very peculiarly, having developed an individual strategy for obtaining food. The fact that these birds can soar for many hours in the air allows them to take prey from other birds - petrels, phaetons, gannets and pelicans. When a frigate sees a bird returning from a hunt, he catches up with it and begins to beat it with its beak and wings until it achieves that it burps what it has eaten. As soon as this happens, this feathered pirate picks up prey on the fly and eats it. And pelicans can attack several large frigates at once.Large frigates are birds that can soar in the sky for a long time.
Large frigates themselves can hunt for flying fish and squid, which they grab at the surface of the water. They are not shy to attack colonies of relatives and other birds, eating chicks. Even the frigate chicks show their predatory nature: they are quite capable of pecking and eating smaller chicks even of their kind.