Galapagos Islands

Meet the Galapagos Frigate Bird

Magnificent Frigate bird is one of the two Frigate species that live in Galapagos. This  huge black bird that hovers lazily in the sky is described by its name perfectly. Keep reading to learn why are they magnificent.

The Magnificent Frigatebird is a seabird that lives between northern Mexico and Ecuador on the Pacific coast and between Florida and southern Brazil along the Atlantic coast. Including  the spectacular Galapagos Islands.

Magnificent Frigate birds are considered to be a endemic subspecies, meaning that they can’t be found anywhere else.


Frigate birds spend most of the day in flight hunting for food, trees or cliffs at night. Their main prey are fish and squid. They lack the ability to take off from water so they snatch prey from the ocean surface or beach using their long, hooked bills. Their diet vary depending on food availability and preferred hunting technique. One of the hunting techniques is steal fish from other bird’s mouths.

Flying abilities

They are able to fly for days on wind currents. The Frigate birds have a strong silhouette in the shape of a ‘W’, which allows them to soar with minimal effort. That’s why they fly without flapping their wings for hours, and even days upon the warm, equatorial air currents .


This bird makes their nests above trees and bushes on islands and cays with mangroves, branches and twigs. The stunning frigate lays a white egg of 68 by 47 millimeters. This egg is incubated by both parents from 50 to 60 days. After breaking the shell, the male leaves it and the female stays to take care of the new member of the family for about 1 year.

The frigates mate with one female per season, and the most unusual trait of the frigate is shown by males because during the breeding season, they regularly inflate the thin, red and remarkable gular sac on their throats with air. This way they  win the attraction of females with these fleshy and red balloons. In addition to this, they sit in groups with spread wings, inflated sacs and heads tilted back to court the ladies. Crashing their bills, shaking their heads and wings call to females that fly by so they can win a couple.

Catch a glimpse of these beautiful birds while visiting Galapagos Island, staying Ikala Galapagos Hotel. The newest hotel of the archipelago offer comfortable accommodation, the ideal location, amazing amenities, breathtaking view to the Puerto Ayora harbor, island hopping tours and more to enjoy your stay, and get in touch with nature. Book a suite here.