Lesser frigatebird

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The lesser frigatebird (Fregata ariel) belongs to the family Fregatidae. The lesser frigatebird species is distributed in Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea, Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean.

Taxonomy of Lesser frigatebird

  • Scientific Name: Fregata ariel
  • Common Name: Lesser frigatebird
  • French: Fr├ęgate ariel; German: Arielfregattvogel; Spanish: Rabihorcado chico;
  • Other names: Atagen ariel G. R. Gray, 1845;
  • Family: Fregatidae › Suliformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: (Gray, 1845)
Fregata ariel species was earlier included in the genus Atagen. The three recognized subspeices are: F. a. iredalei Mathews, 1914, F. a. ariel (G. R. Gray, 1845) and F. a. trinitatis Miranda-Ribeiro, 1919.

Indian birds - Lesser frigatebird - Fregata ariel
Indian birds - Lesser frigatebird - Fregata ariel


The lesser frigatebird species is a medium sized bird, the male measuring 65 to 80 cm in length and weighing 600 to 900 grams. The female frigatebird is a larger bird and weighs 750 to 950 grams. The wingspan is 150 to 200 cm. The frigatebird has brown-black plumage, long narrow wings and a deeply forked tail. The belly and breast have white feathers.


The breeding habitats of the frigatebird are remote islands, marshes, mangroves and bushes. Outside breeding season, they move about open seas and oceans in search of food.

Feeding habits

The lesser frigatebird species feed mainly on fish, especially flying fish. They also feed on other fish, squids and chicks of other birds and they also snatch feed from other birds.


Breeding season of these frigatebirds occurs in May and December. They nest on trees and also on ground. The nest usually contains a single egg. Both the frigatebird parents take care of the chick.


The subspecies F. a. iredalei is distributed in the area adjoining Indian Ocean. The subspecies F. a. ariel is distributed in Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and Pacific Ocean. The subspecies F. a. trinitatis is distributed in South Atlantic Ocean.

Movement Patterns

The lesser frigatebird species are dispersed in the tropical oceans. Outside the breeding season, the birds are sedentary and individually dispersed. During the breeding season they congregate in breeding colonies.

Status and conservation

The lesser frigatebird range and population size are very large and these species are not vulnerable. The breeding habitat degradation and human activity in the breeding grounds are the major threats to survival of these species.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these frigatebird species and has listed them as of "Least Concern".

Biological classification of Fregata ariel
Species:F. ariel
Binomial name:Fregata ariel
Distribution:Indian Ocean, Asian seas, Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean;
Feeding habits:squid, flying fish and other fish;
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

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