Thai National Parks

Species of Thailand

Christmas Island frigatebird

Fregata andrewsi, Gregory Mathews, 1914

(In Thai: นกโจรสลัดเกาะคริสต์มาส)

The Christmas frigatebird or Christmas Island frigatebird (Fregata andrewsi) is a seabird of the frigatebird family Fregatidae which is endemic to Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean.

The Christmas frigatebird is a large lightly built seabird with brownish-black plumage, long narrow wings and a deeply forked tail. It has a wingspan of around 2.15 m. The male has an egg shaped white patch on its belly and a striking red gular sac which it inflates to attract a mate. The female is slightly larger than the male and has a white breast and belly. They feed on fish taken in flight from the ocean's surface (mostly flying fish), and sometimes indulge in kleptoparasitism, harassing other birds to force them to regurgitate their food.


The Christmas frigatebird was once considered to belong to the species Fregata aquila but in 1914 the Australian ornithologist Gregory Mathews proposed that the Christmas frigatebird should be considered as a separate species with the binomial name Fregata andrewsi in honour of the English paleontogist Charles Andrews. Of the four other species within the Fregata genus, genetic analysis has shown that the Christmas frigatebird is most closely related to the great frigatebird.


The Christmas frigatebird measures 89 - 100 cm in length, has a wingspan of 205 - 230 cm and weighs around 1550 g. The adult male of this species is easily identified, since it is all black except for a white belly patch. Other plumages resemble those of the smaller lesser frigatebird, but have whiter bellies and longer white underwing spurs.


The Christmas frigate is endemic to Christmas Island and breeds in only four main nesting colonies. In 2003 there were 1, 200 breeding pairs but as frigatebirds normally breed every other year, the total adult population was estimated to be between 3, 600-7, 200 individuals. The species has a small population and breeds on just one island. It is therefore listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as "Critically Endangered".

This article uses material from Wikipedia released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike Licence 3.0. Eventual photos shown in this page may or may not be from Wikipedia, please see the license details for photos in photo by-lines.

Category / Seasonal Status

Wiki listed status (concerning Thai population): Winter visitor, critically endangered

BCST Category: Recorded in an apparently wild state within the last 50 years

BCST Seasonal status: Non-breeding visitor

Scientific classification

Fregata andrewsi

Common names

  • Thai: นกโจรสลัดเกาะคริสต์มาส

Conservation status

Critically Endangered (IUCN3.1)

Critically Endangered (IUCN3.1)

Critically Endangered (IUCN3.1)

Critically Endangered (BirdLife)

Critically Endangered (IUCN3.1)

Critically Endangered (ONEP)

Critically Endangered (IUCN3.1)

Critically Endangered (BCST)


Please help us review the bird photos if wrong ones are used. We can be reached via our contact us page.

Christmas Island frigatebird
Christmas Island frigatebird

Range Map

Distribution map of Christmas Island frigatebird, Fregata andrewsi in Thailand
  • Bang Pu Recreation Centre
  • Bueng Boraped Non-Hunting Area
  • Klaeng District, Rayong
  • Ko Lanta National Park
  • Ko Samui District, Surat Thani
  • Laem Pak Bia
  • Mueang Krabi District, Krabi
  • Mueang Phuket District, Phuket
  • Phi Phi Islands
  • Samut Prakan Province
Range map of Fregata andrewsi in Thailand