The Bird Book/Man-o'-War Birds

The Bird Book by Chester A. Reed
Man-o'-War Birds: Family Fregatidse


128. MAN-O'-WAR BIRD. Fregata aqtiila.

Range. Tropical seas, north regularly in America to the South Atlantic and Gulf coasts, casually farther.

Man-o'-war Birds or "Frigates," as they are often called, are remarkable birds in many respects. In comparison with their weight they have the largest expanse of wing of any known bird. Weighing only about four pounds they have an extent of from seven to eight feet, their wings being extremely long and pointed. The length of the bird is about 40 inches, of which the tail comprises about 18 in., 10 inches of this being forked. They have a large bright orange gular sac, a long,


hooked bill, and small slightly webbed feet. Their

powers of flight combine the strength of the

Albatrosses and the grace of the Terns. They

are very poor swimmers and do not dive, so are

forced to procure their food by preying upon the

Gulls and Cormorants, forcing them to drop their

fish, which the pirates catch before it reaches the

water. They also feed upon flying fish, catching

them in the air, whither they have been driven by

their enemies in their natural element. They nest in large colonies on some of

the Bahama Islands and on some of the small Florida Keys. Their nests are

small frail platforms of sticks and twigs and the single egg is laid in March

and April. It is white and has a smooth surface. Size 2.80 x 1.90. Data. Key

Verde, Bahamas, March 6, 1889. Single egg. Nest a frail affair of sticks on a

cactus. Collector, D. P. Ingraham.

Man-O'-War Bird