Great Frigatebird

Fregata minor palmerstoni / ‘Iwa
Great Frigatebird

A large bird, with long, slender wings, a deeply forked tail and long, pale blue/gray to blackish hooked bill. Adults have mostly black plumage. Adult males have a red inflatable throat pouch. Legs/feet red to reddish-brown. Females have white breasts and on average are larger than males. Legs/feet pink to reddish-pink. Juveniles have rusty to white heads and throats.

‘Iwa roost near Kīlauea Point but no nesting has been documented.
Lacking the ability to take off from water, ‘iwa snatch prey from the ocean surface using their long, hooked bills. Prey primarily consist of fish and squid. Juveniles and adults often obtain food by piracy from boobies, tropicbirds, and shearwaters. ‘Iwa often supplement their diet by this type of harassment.

‘Iwa begin to breed after 9 years. Females do not breed every year because it takes a year and a half to raise a chick. Males are believed to breed every year (with a second female). Fidelity to nest sites and mates is low.

Male breeding displays include inflation of crimson throat pouch, spread wings and head shaking. A single egg is laid on a platform nest built on top of shrubs. Both parents develop a brood patch and incubate the egg for about 55 days. Incubation shift change averages every 3 days.

Newly hatched chicks are naked and brooded by parents to protect them from the sun or rain. By one month, both parents leave the nest to search for food. Feedings occur about once every 18 hours. Chicks attempt their first flight between 120-145 days. Young will depend on parents, usually the female, for food for up to 18 months after fledging.

Facts About Great Frigatebird

Diet
Lacking the ability to take off from water, frigatebirds snatch prey from the ocean surface using their long, hooked bills. Prey primarily consists of fish and squid. Juveniles and adults often obtain food by piracy from boobies, tropicbirds, and shearwaters. Frigatebirds often supplement their diet by this type of harassment. 

Life Span
30 years 

Size
Length: 86-100 cm (34-40 in); wingspan: 206-230 cm (81-91 in)