– Scientific Classification –
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Pelicaniformes
- Family: Fregatidae
- Genus: Fregata
- Species: F. andrewsi
The Andrew’s or Christmas Island Frigatebird is a large, sexually dimorphic seabird. The females are larger than males and have a white belly and breast, a white collar and a white bar on the wing. The males have mostly the black plumage with the greenish tint excluding a white patch on their abdomen and the bright gular pouch used for mating displays. Juveniles are more mottled in appearance and may take four years to grow adult plumage.
These birds are found in the Indian Ocean and only breed on Christmas Island (Google Earth). They nest in tall forests near the shore.
Christmas Frigatebirds are listed as critically endangered as they are threatened by human predation and habitat destruction.
Christmas Island National Park was established in 1989 and contains two of the three current breeding populations (5). Christmas frigatebirds are also protected outside of the park and by Migratory Bird Agreements between Australia and other countries (4).
Here’s a video of a male Christmas Frigatebird performing a courtship display: