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Disambiguation Link[edit]

I fixed this re this [1] discussion on WP:DISAMBIG. exolon 02:41, 24 December 2006 (UTC) the male stays on the ground and inhales his red scarlet throat to get a mate


Since, as the article notes, Frigatebirds live ashore and take their food from beaches as well as open water, is [pelagic] really the word to describe their diet? I accept that they are not quite piscivores if they eat turtles, but "pelagic" seems more properly applied to birds like the albatross, living far from shore. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Czrisher (talkcontribs) 14:28, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

You could well be right. Even albatrosses have to breed on land, so that in itself isn't significant, but I don't think frigatebirds can roost on the sea. I've seen them leaving overnight woodland roosts in Florida in November, whcih supports what you say. On the other hand, if the map is correct, that suggests that they can be pelagic - I doubt that jimfbleak (talk) 14:46, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Cladogram showing relationship of Frigatebirds to other families[edit]

I wanted to draw a cladogram showing the relationship of Fregatidae to other families. Comparing Kennedy and Spencer (2004) with Hackett et al. (2008) (Fig S2) there are differences. The ML tree of Kennedy and Spencer suggests that Darters and Gannets are more similar to each other than either is to Cormorants. On the other hand Hackett et al. have Darters more similar to Cormorants and Gannets as basal to the other two species. So which should I draw? Aa77zz (talk) 13:35, 28 November 2014 (UTC)

  • Hackett, S.J.; Kimball, R.T.; Reddy, S.; Bowie, R.C.K.; Braun, E.L.; Braun, M.J.; Chojnowski, J.L.; Cox, W.A.; Han, K.-L.; Harshman, J.; Huddleston, C.J.; Marks, B.D.; Miglia, K.J.; Moore, W.A.; Sheldon, F.H.; Steadman, D.W.; Witt, C.C.; Yuri, T. (2008). "A Phylogenomic Study of Birds Reveals Their Evolutionary History". Science. 320 (5884): 1763–68. PMID 18583609. doi:10.1126/science.1157704. 
  • Kennedy, Martyn; Spencer, Hamish G (2004). "Phylogenies of the frigatebirds (Fregatidae) and tropicbirds (Phaethonidae), two divergent groups of the traditional order Pelecaniformes, inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequences". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 31 (1): 31–38. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2003.07.007.  Aa77zz (talk) 13:44, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
It appears some of the above is address by:
But I understand very little. Aa77zz (talk) 14:09, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
I've removed my cladogram from the article as the relationship between the species in the Fregatidae family is different in Smith and I cannot judge which is correct. Smith only considers 3 species: F. minor, F. ariel and F. magnificens but has ariel and magnificens together. Aa77zz (talk) 14:23, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
I'll take a look and have a think and post some thoughts and we can come up with something. Funny, I've never really read about frigate birds before... Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 09:01, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
Right - regarding the species-level one - the Kennedy/Spencer article is widely cited and is confident of its arrangement (and uses 2 types of DNA). The infrageneric arrangement isn't even mentioned in the osteology one, so am happy to leave it (combining two cladograms would be OR anyway). So have readded Kennedy/Spencer cladogram. Still reading on higher-level taxa....Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 10:53, 30 November 2014 (UTC)

Right, the easiest is to say what studies did what and came to what conclusions - i.e. Smith 2010 looked at bony and skeletal characters. It doesn't discuss the infrageneric arrangement of Fregata in it. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 12:15, 29 November 2014 (UTC)

Hmmm, looking here looks like Gerbe and Degland made it a genus not a family (??) Will ask at WP:Birds. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 22:29, 29 November 2014 (UTC)

As an update - got an email from Richard Schodde confirming Gerbe and Degland as authorities (they describe it as Fregatinae in table of contents)...glad got that sorted out..... Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 21:29, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

Airborne for a week - cn tag[edit]

"able to stay aloft for more than a week" - this is certainly correct for great frigatebirds but may not apply to magnificent frigatebirds. Weimerskirch et al 2004 tracked great frigatebirds incubation eggs on Europa Island in the Mozambique Channel. The birds would forage at sea for 3-12 days, average 5.8 days. There is no mention of roosting on land during these trips. In contrast Weimerskirch et al 2006 tracked Magnificent frigatebirds. This species is not oceanic, unlike the other 4 species, and keeps to inshore waters. "The slow overall speeds were due to frequent stops of several hours each on the coast".(page 222) Aa77zz (talk) 12:59, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

Yep - important to have material align with sources - will tweak. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 22:21, 24 December 2014 (UTC)


Read and add this Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 20:40, 25 December 2014 (UTC)

Doesn't add much - main pigment is astaxanthin. Aa77zz (talk) 21:51, 25 December 2014 (UTC)
Haven't read it yet - I was ducking out between family get-togethers and hefty meals to look for info on gular pouches as I reckon it is something that could be discussed in more detail as it is a distinctive part of frigatebird anatomy. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 21:58, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

Check this and this Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 05:30, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

GA/FA push[edit]

Righto, folks (@Aa77zz:) - may as well capitalise on the work done so far and push it to GA/FA etc. I don't have much on the biology of frigatebirds as a group though....Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 07:17, 9 May 2015 (UTC)

Mortality from fishing lines - Ascension Island frigatebirds[edit]

I haven't found evidence that longlines pose a significant risk to the birds. The possible entangled of Ascension Island frigatebirds in fishing lines is mentioned by Ratcliffe et al (2008) - but they provide no evidence that there is significant mortality. This anonymous draft report:

contains the text: "No local observer data exist to assess the direct mortality of Ascension frigatebirds caused by incidental capture in pelagic longlines, although bycatch statistics reported by the Taiwanese fleet operating in and around Ascension’s exclusive economic zone suggest that the risk is likely to be low[17]. This is supported by low by-catch rates reported for closely related frigatebird species in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans [18,19]. The indirect impacts of fishing on marine food webs are therefore perhaps of greater concern. As surface feeders with a diet based primarily on flying fish, frigatebirds are highly reliant on sub-surface predators such as tuna to drive prey within reach [13]."

Though I wouldn't give much weight to reports by the Taiwanese fishing fleet, the decline of the tuna fish appears to be a more serious threat. Aa77zz (talk) 15:11, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

Interesting read. I'm sure we'll build up more of a picture as we read some more sources for other species. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 00:17, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
Great figatebirds: James & McAllan page 63 (bottom): "There is occasional entanglement of Frigatebirds in discarded fishing line (Stokes 1988; DJJ), though this does not threaten at the population level (DJJ)." Aa77zz (talk) 10:41, 15 May 2015 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Frigatebird/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: FunkMonk (talk · contribs) 03:57, 9 June 2015 (UTC)

  • Hi there, I'll review this. FunkMonk (talk) 03:57, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
  • "French mariners' name for the bird La Frégate" I don't think "la" should be capitalised here, it is just a gender article.
I agree - and have changed to all lowercase: la frégate. Aa77zz (talk) 08:46, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
  • While looking at the French article[2], it struck me that it does not link to the English one. Appears that some Wikipedias use Fregata as the title name, and those articles link to each other, while others link between the family name. Both, however, cover the genus and family in the same article, so it appears the division is misleading. But these two groups do not link between them. Seems this can only be fixed on Wikidata somehow, as both Fregata and fregatidae have a Wikidata entry, which should probably be merged. Not a GA criterion, of course, but probably good if this was sorted out.
tweaked it in wikidata - had to remove it from fregata and link to french fregatidae. I think it is worth an overhaul...and have posted a question over there. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 11:40, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Why was the name Tachypetidae discarded? I think a higher level taxon article like this can permit itself to go into nitty gritty taxonomic details.
as the genus Fregata had been the legitimate name since before 1961 under the code. added. relevant part of code is here. hope it is clear. Question is, whether to move it up to discuss after the genera naming... Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 12:34, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I would almost expect Etymology to be a subsection under taxonomy, as it does go into some taxonomic history. But I guess it is separate because it is also about common names? Though the common name seems to have directly influenced the genus name.
yeah, I have done this in other articles - converted to level 3 header within taxonomy Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 11:52, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
  • The info about taxonomic names (family, old genus, reassignment to new genus) is now scattered across three subsections, which seems a bit unfocused? Perhaps it would be better to cover all this in the same section, consecutively, to make it easier to grasp for layreaders?
Have majorly rejigged it...but tricky as to put it all strictly chronological means jumping a bit from genus to family and order-level. Might need a bit of fine-tuning.... Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 12:34, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
added Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 13:43, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Here's Albin's drawing mentioned in the article, perhaps interesting?[3]
I've uploaded Albin's plate to Commons File:Frigatebird_Eleazar_Albin_1737.jpg. I haven't added it as I'm not yet convinced it would enhance the article. Aa77zz (talk) 10:25, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
That's a tricky one - pretty ordinary drawing and we've got alot of images that I think would add more value to the article. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 13:43, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
  • "totipalmate feet" Explain.
linked to Bird_feet_and_legs#Webbing_and_lobation, which has a picture Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 14:18, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
  • No cladogram for relationships with other groups of birds?
I agree that such a cladogram seems desirable but I have difficulty knowing what to believe - or what is the current consensus among ornithologists. If I compare Kennedy et al. 2004 (cited in the article) with the major article on the phylogeny of birds published in Science by Hackett et al 2008 here I find that there are differences. Fig 2 in Kennedy has Morus (Gannets) as sister to Anhinga (Darters) with Phalacrocorax (Cormorants) more distantly related but Fig 2 in Hackett has Anhinga as sister to Phalacrocorax. Aa77zz (talk) 13:43, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
I was about to write the same thing - if we stick to what is absolutely agreed on it'd be maybe too simple..(i.e. it'd be a 'Y' shape with fregatidae and Suloidea only). Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 13:47, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
  • "Three species have been described: two from the Green River Formation" These species deserve to be named here too, no?
named and added Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 04:01, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Articles about individual species mention valid subspecies. They probably shouldn't be listed here, but I guess it warrants a mention that there are recognised subspecies?
Have added that there are 5 and 3 subspp. I don't think they're very distinctive though. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 04:02, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Why two similar images under Description, even of the same species? Wouldn't it be more relevant to show some part of their anatomy, like feet or similar? If the lower (very fuzzy) image is supposed to show the distinctive bifurcation of the tail, I think there would be better options.
yeah, removed one - added one of colony> Nothing else is jumping out as something really good to add. Will have another look later Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 15:13, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Only some of the entries under Living species of frigatebirds mention conservation status.
All five are covered in the Populations and threats section. It strikes me as repetitive to cover all twice. Alternately I could take the two ones mentioned out of that species list.. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 13:45, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
May seem pedantic, but I think it could be removed from the list... FunkMonk (talk) 22:54, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
makes sense not to reduplicate - removed conservation descriptors from species list Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 03:17, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
looking at it - has few inline refs, annoyingly. Am looking at some bits and pieces to add. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 15:13, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Fixes look good, more to comer as I read through the rest. FunkMonk (talk) 22:54, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Why do birds regurgitate by being harassed?
hmmm, I've always just known that. Not ever assumed it wasn't logical. Umm, I don't recall seeing this explained as such anywhere.... Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 10:08, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
  • "The Atlantic populations of the great and lesser frigatebirds are unknown and possibly extinct." A bit confusing, was there ever known to be a population there?
Sorry, meant "current status" - added Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 10:10, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
  • "local disasters that could have a wipe out the rare species" Seems malformed?
oops, fixed Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 10:08, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Perhaps interesting to have a photo of Tangata manu[4] under culture?
nice find...I'll take one of those... Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 10:13, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
  • The intro seems a little short, and conservation/culture are not summarised there.
added a bit - tricky to know which bits to add. I might hunt around for some more cultural material, which might help Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 10:19, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
  • That's it from me, looks good now, so I'll pass. Made a comment over at Wikidata, seems a commenter didn't understand the problem. FunkMonk (talk) 10:40, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
Cool/thanks! Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 11:07, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for spending your time looking at the article. Aa77zz (talk) 12:47, 10 June 2015 (UTC)

Natural predators to the Frigatebird?[edit]

- small ferals during breeding season - and for adult Frigatebird? Thy--SvenAERTS (talk) 23:08, 21 July 2016 (UTC)


I disagree with some of the changes that have recently been made to lead

  • In the first paragraph it was better to have the description before the behaviour - as in the body of the article.
  • It is not necessary to specify sizes and weights in the lead - and if one does the metric value should be given first as is done in the body of the article.
  • Not all frigatebirds have an "iridescent purple sheen." Only the male birds have the sheen and according to James 2004 the sheen is green on Christmas Island and Great frigatebirds. For example see File:Greater_frigatebird_breeding_pair.jpg
  • "largest wingspan-to-body" should be "largest wingspan-to-body-weight"

Aa77zz (talk) 20:23, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

Yeah, I have been trying to rejig it a bit and Atsme wanted to have a go. I tried this way but looking at it again it jumps about a bit in topic matter. I think going back the a default order is best. Will reorganise. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 20:49, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
@Atsme: I did really like this line, " Frigatebirds are unique in their ability to soar for days on wind currents over open oceans and along coastlines. ".....but isn't true as they're not unique at this (albratrosses and petrels come to mind). Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 21:04, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
I had to take Wasatch out of lead as two of the three species were slightly younger. Early Eocene covers all three though. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 21:13, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Perhaps the following will help for comparison purposes:

Original GA Lede Atsme Combined #3 Current Lede
The frigatebirds (also known as Fregatidae) are a family of seabirds. They have long wings, tails, and bills and the males have a red gular pouch that is inflated during the breeding season to attract a mate. Their plumage is predominantly black. There are five living species, all in a single genus Fregata, found across all tropical and subtropical oceans. They are absent from polar regions. Long placed in the order Pelecaniformes, they are now reclassified in the Suliformes and appear to be only distantly related to pelicans. The frigatebird family is the sister group to the Suloidea (cormorants, darters, and gannets and boobies). Three fossil species of the prehistoric Eocene genus Limnofregata are known from North America. These had longer legs, less-hooked bills and shorter wings, and at least two of them lived in a freshwater habitat.

Frigatebirds are pelagic piscivores that obtain most of their food on the wing. A small portion of their diet is obtained by robbing other seabirds and by snatching seabird chicks. Frigatebirds are seasonally monogamous, and nest colonially. A rough nest is constructed in low trees or on the ground on remote islands. A single egg is laid each breeding season. Three species are widespread, while two are endangered—restricted to breeding on a single island each. Tame frigatebirds were kept on in some parts of Polynesia and Micronesia, used to bear messages back to their island of origin by their owners.

Frigatebirds (Fregata) are a single genus of seabirds with five extant species comprising the family Fregatidae.  Frigatebirds are unique in their ability to soar for days on wind currents over open oceans and along coastlines.  They are light weight 35.3–67 ounces (1,000–1,900 g) with long pointed wings reminiscent of the sails on ships for which they are named. Their wingspan may reach up to 96 inches (240 cm), the largest wingspan-to-body ratio of any bird. They have long, deeply forked tails, long hooked bills, and plumage that is predominately black with an iridescent purple sheen. Females have white underbellies, and males have a red gular pouch which they inflate during breeding season to attract females. 

Frigatebirds are pelagic piscivores found across all tropical and subtropical oceans. They spend most of the day in flight hunting for food, and roost on trees or cliffs at night. They are referred to as kleptoparasites because they occasionally rob other seabirds for food, and are known to snatch seabird chicks from the nest. Frigatebirds are seasonally monogamous, gregarious and nest colonially.  A rough nest is constructed in low trees or on the ground on remote islands.  A single egg is laid each breeding season. 

The oldest fossil record (Limnofregata) dates to the Wasatchian interval of the Eocene, 55.4-50.3 million years ago.  Evolutionary references classify Fregatidae as a sister group to Suloidea which consists of cormorants, darters, gannets and boobies. Three of the five extant species of frigatebirds are widespread, (the Magnificent, Great and Lesser frigatebirds) while two are endangered (Christmas Island and the Ascension Island frigatebirds) and restrict their breeding habitat respectively to two small islands.

Frigatebirds are a family—Fregatidae—of seabirds found across all tropical and subtropical oceans. The five extant species are classified in the single genus, Fregata. All have predominantly black plumage, long, deeply forked tails and long hooked bills. Females have white underbellies and males have a distinctive red gular pouch, which they inflate during breeding season to attract females. Their wings are long and pointed and can span up to 2.3 metres (7.5 ft), the largest wingspan to body weight ratio of any bird.

Able to soar for days on wind currents, frigatebirds spend most of the day in flight hunting for food, and roost on trees or cliffs at night. Their main prey are fish and squid, caught when chased to the water surface by large predators such as tuna. Frigatebirds are referred to as kleptoparasites as they occasionally rob other seabirds for food, and are known to snatch seabird chicks from the nest. Seasonally monogamous, frigatebirds nest colonially. A rough nest is constructed in low trees or on the ground on remote islands.  A single egg is laid each breeding season. The duration of parental care is among the longest of all birds, frigatebirds are only able to breed every other year.

The oldest fossil record dates to the early Eocene, around 50 million years ago. Classified in the genus Limnofregata, the three species had shorter less-hooked bills and longer legs, and lived in a freshwater environment. Evolutionary references classify Fregatidae as a sister group to Suloidea which consists of cormorants, darters, gannets and boobies. Three of the five extant species of frigatebirds are widespread, (the Magnificent, Great and Lesser frigatebirds) while two are endangered (Christmas Island and the Ascension Island frigatebirds) and restrict their breeding habitat respectively to two small islands.   

It may or may not help with regards to balance and flow. At the very least it provides a convenient way to compare. Atsme📞📧 23:02, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

PS - I probably should have been more definitive re: the uniqueness of the soaring - One extreme end of the evolution of soaring birds from the aspect of wing loading is the magnificent frigatebird, which has the lowest wing loading among birds. page 6  I also tried to maintain some consistency with the size, body weight, etc. in the lede as with Great_frigatebird, but I suck at conversions.  The iridescent purple sheen occurs on at least 3 of the 5 extant species - Great, Magnificent, and Lesser - I didn't research much further than that because it was a generalization.  Google brought up several RS that confirmed it.  I went with the most notable characteristics in the 1st para of the lede because the critiques I experienced from prior GA/FA reviews are deeply embedded in my memory. Face-smile.svg  I just hope what I was able to contribute proves helpful. Atsme📞📧 00:16, 13 June 2015 (UTC)
Look, it's all a learning curve - I've not done many group articles and it is a little tricky. I think some of the engaging prose you've added is really valuable in the lead and that's a great thing at this stage - it is a real tightrope act walking the line between engaging/accessible prose and accuracy. Its Saturday day here and I will be on and off with RL chores (my son's birthday for starters). So will look over some of this later. cheers, Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 01:13, 13 June 2015 (UTC)

Evidence that [Frigatebirds] sleep in mid-flight[edit]

An interesting citation if someone wants to mix it in. Abstract below.

Many birds fly non-stop for days or longer, but do they sleep in flight and if so, how? It is commonly assumed that flying birds maintain environmental awareness and aerodynamic control by sleeping with only one eye closed and one cerebral hemisphere at a time. However, sleep has never been demonstrated in flying birds. Here, using electroencephalogram recordings of great frigatebirds (Fregata minor) flying over the ocean for up to 10 days, we show that they can sleep with either one hemisphere at a time or both hemispheres simultaneously. Also unexpectedly, frigatebirds sleep for only 0.69 h d−1 (7.4% of the time spent sleeping on land), indicating that ecological demands for attention usually exceed the attention afforded by sleeping unihemispherically. In addition to establishing that birds can sleep in flight, our results challenge the view that they sustain prolonged flights by obtaining normal amounts of sleep on the wing.
-- Niels, Rattenborg; Voirin, Bryson; Cruz, Sebastian M. (3 August 2016). "Evidence that birds sleep in mid-flight". Nature Communications. 7: 12468. doi:10.1038/ncomms12468. 

atropos235 (blah blah, my past) 22:26, 27 October 2016 (UTC)