The Christmas Frigatebird is a highly endangered species of sea bird that only breeds on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean.

Male Christmas Frigatebird   © Save Nature Save Human

Male Christmas Frigatebirds begin their mating displays in late December, inflating their scarlet throat pouches during courtship.

Christmas Island was uninhabited until the late 19th century, allowing many species to evolve without human interference. The most noticeable fauna on the island these days are land crabs and sea birds.
Christmas Frigatebirds do not settle on the water, they inhabit the open ocean, returning to land only to roost and breed. They are endemic to Christmas Island which means they are unique to this one location where their breeding colonies are located.

Since population was introduced on the island, habitat destruction and human predation have caused a drastic decline in Frigatebird population. Dust pollution from phosphate mine driers had caused one major nesting site to be abandoned.
Since then, dust suppression equipment has been installed and the species has been protected.
Two-thirds of the island has been declared a National Park, which contains two of the three current breeding populations of this species. Christmas Frigatebirds are also protected outside of the park and by Migratory Bird Agreements between Australia and other countries.
This agreement is important because Frigatebirds are known to forage for food up to hundreds, and sometimes thousands of kilometres away from their colony. One has been documented undertaking a non-stop, 26-hour flight, covering 4000km flying from Christmas Island via Sumatra and Borneo then back.

This species remains highly vulnerable and the close monitoring of breeding success and population size remains a high priority. Birds that have been displaced in the past may now be using sub-optimal habitat, which could pose a threat to their survival.
The Christmas Frigatebird is confined to a few breeding colonies on a single island and this, together with their low reproductive rate, makes the population alarmingly vulnerable to any chance event.

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