Lesser Frigatebird

Scientific Name: Fregata ariel
Malay Name: Simbang Kecil
Chinese Name: 白斑军舰鸟

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

Polytypic. Subspecies are: trinitatis, iredalei, ariel.

Local Subspecies: ariel

Size: 71-81 cm

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: Rare non-breeding visitor.

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2018)

Location: Changi Ferry Terminal, Marina Barrage and Straits of Singapore.


External Links:
Conservation Status: IUCN Red List Page
Photos: Oriental Bird Images
Sound Recordings: xeno-canto Link
Wikipedia Entry: Wikipedia Link

BirdLife International. (2018). Fregata ariel. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018. Downloaded on 2 September 2021
Robson, C. (2008). A Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia. New Holland Publishers.