Hawaiian name: ‘Iwa
Scientific name: Fregata minor
- Life Span: > 25 years
- Wingspan: 206-230 cm (81-91 in)
- Breeding Ecology:
- Male “lek” display
- Pantropical breeding range
- Colonial tree nester
- 1 egg/clutch; 1 clutch/1.5 years
- Up to 450 days before fledging
- Lacks ability to take off from water.
- Obtains some food by piracy from other birds.
- Highly specialized for an aerial life, having a greater ratio of wing area to body mass than any other bird, a deeply forked tail for agile maneuvering, and very small legs and feet (which make walking impractical).
- The Hawaiian name for the species “‘Iwa” means “thief.” But frigatebirds catch the majority of their meals without stealing. They fly along the ocean waiting for a flying fish to break the surface, or catch fish and squid swimming within several centimeters below the surface.
- Females do not breed every year because it takes 1½ years to raise a chick. Males are believed to breed every year (with a second female). Fidelity to nest sites and mates is low.