Scientific Name: Fregata ariel
Malay Name: Simbang Kecil
Chinese Name: 白斑军舰鸟
Range: Breeds in tropical and subtropical Indian, Pacific and south Atlantic Oceans with non-breeder wanders widely to the coastal seas of southern Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia
Taxonomy: Polytypic. Subspecies are: trinitatis, iredalei, ariel.
Local Subspecies: ariel
Size: 71-81 cm
Identification: Male has overall blackish plumage with prominent whitish patches extending from side of body to inner underwing-coverts and red gular pouch. Female has black hood and belly with white on the rest of underparts, extending in axillary spur onto inner underwing-coverts. Juvenile resembles female but has rufous to brownish white head, white belly and black breast-band. Apart from size, difficult to distinguish from juvenile Christmas Frigatebird but possibly has narrower black breast-band.
Similar looking species: Christmas Frigatebird
Habitat: Open seas
Behaviour/Ecology: Catches flying fish in mid-flight and harasses other sea birds to force them to disgorge their catch which is then caught in mid-air.
Local Status: Very rare visitor
Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2018)
Conservation Status: IUCN Red List Page
Sound Recordings: xeno-canto Link
Wikipedia Entry: Wikipedia Link
eBird Species page: eBird (Lesser Frigatebird)
BirdLife International. (2018). Fregata ariel. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T22697738A132598822.en. Accessed on 1 January 2023
Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.
Singapore Birds Project. (n.d.). Lesser Frigatebird. Retrieved on May 28, 2023 from https://singaporebirds.com/species/lesser-frigatebird.