Family Frigatebirds (Fregatidae)

Critically Endangered

Christmas Frigatebird (Fregata andrewsi)


French: Frégate d’Andrews German: Weißbauch-Fregattvogel Spanish: Rabihorcado de la Christmas

Fregata andrewsi


, 1914,

Christmas Island, Indian Ocean


Formerly included in F. aquila. Monotypic.


Known to breed only on Christmas I, in E Indian Ocean; forages in surrounding ocean and disperses widely, mainly in Indo-Malay Archipelago over the Sunda Shelf to South China Sea, Andaman Sea, Gulf of Thailand, Sulu Sea and off SW Sulawesi. Said to breed on Anambas Is, E of Malay Peninsula, but good evidence lacking.

Descriptive notes

89–100 cm; male c. 1400 g, female c. 1550 g; wingspan 205–230 cm. Male has blackish-brown plumage, blacker and glossed green or bluish green on head, neck mantle... read more


Usually silent away from breeding colonies. Calls at nest include plaintive, nasal calls, such as “... read more


Nests in tall trees, especially Indian almond (Terminalia catappa), preferably where... read more

Food and feeding

Little known. Mostly flying-fish and squid; also seabird eggs and chicks, carrion and even grasshoppers recorded. Surface-dipping and,... read more


Lays mostly Mar–May. Breeding biennial, when successful. Loose colonies, usually in nuclei of 10–20 pairs; up to 38 nests in... read more


There is evidence that breeders frequently forage 100s or even 1000s of km from their colonies. In... read more

Status and conservation

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED. CITES I. Previously considered Endangered.  In 2003, global population put at 2400–4800 mature individuals, roughly equivalent to 3600... read more

Recommended citation

Orta, J., Garcia, E.F.J., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Christmas Frigatebird (Fregata andrewsi). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 9 April 2020).