Frigate, Frigate Bird, Man-O’-War, Magnificent Frigate
Tijereta, Rabihorcado Magnifico
(Fregata magnificens)

Frigate Bird, Fregata magnificens: The Frigate is a parasitic sea bird that is a member of the Fregatidae Family. It is a large bird of prey found only in the southern portions of North America near water.

The Frigate possesses the largest wing span (up to 7 feet), in proportion to it body size (up to 41 inches), in the world. It is also the most aerial of the water birds, making effortless glides on long pointed wings.

The common name of Man-O’-War was given due to its ability to steal food from other sea birds in flight and to harass them into dropping their prey. The Frigate has a long forked tail (which allows differentiation from the cormorants) with and elongated hooked gray bill.

The males are overall black in color but possess a red inflatable throat sack which appears during the fall breeding season. The female has a white breast but is otherwise all black. The juvenile has a white head and breast, but is otherwise all black.

Distribution in Mexico

The Frigate is a year-round resident of all Mexican waters south of Guerrero Negro and is abundant around all of the oceanic islands. It eats fish, jellyfish, carrion, eggs, and chicks of other sea birds. The Frigate has one brood per year, producing one egg which requires 50 days for incubation.

Frigate Bird picture 1 Frigate Bird picture 2

Frigate, Fregata magnificens: Perhaps the world’s greatest "fisherman" found circling high above a large school of predators working a sardine school. Found predominately during "sardine season" (October through May) following the panga fleet when sardines are being used in abundance for chum. White is female and black is male. Camera shy and not easily photographed. Description and photos courtesy John Snow.

Frigate Bird picture 3

Frigate, Fregata magnificens: Photo courtesy John Snow.

Frigate Bird picture 4

Frigate, Fregata magnificens: Male, photographed by Sonia Petersen of Lopez Sportsman's Lodge at Puerto Lopez Mateos, Magdalena Bay, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Photo courtesy Jeff Petersen.

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