Magnificent Frigatebird

provided by Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife

Magnificent Frigatebirds are an ocean dwelling species of bird. These birds are found on the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico, Central America, and South America. They can be seen in Southwest Florida during their breeding season. Their name was given because of their magnificent appearance, with the males possessing a bright red pouch that inflates to attract females. Females have a white chest, making them different in appearance from the males.

These birds have several traits making them unique from other seabirds. First, these birds spend most of their time flying over the ocean, but hardly land in the water. This is because they lack waterproofed feathers. Because of this, they oftentimes steal food from other birds while in the air. They harass other birds until the birds regurgitate then the frigatebirds will take the food and eat it mid-flight. Their diet consists of fish and other small ocean creatures who lurk near the surface.

On Aug. 29, an adult female Magnificent Frigatebird (22-4453) was found thrashing in the water entangled in fishing line. Upon physical examination, hospital staff noted a thin body condition, dehydration, and harsh breathing, but no evidence of entanglement injuries. Veterinarians suspect she may have inhaled water from being down and administered antibiotics along with other supportive medications. Recently, she moved outside to our Large Flight Enclosure to begin flight conditioning in preparation for release! She will continue to be closely monitored outside until she is ready to return to the wild.

THIS WEEK AT CROW (9/10-9/16):
There were 105 new patients admitted to CROW’s Wildlife Hospital including 22 eastern cottontails, eight mourning doves, two gopher tortoises, four northern mockingbirds, five northern raccoons, a common nighthawk, a red-eyed vireo, and a common gallinule. Recent Releases include a Virginia Opossum, a Gopher Tortoise, a Barred Owl, two Red-shouldered Hawks, and a Marsh Rabbit. Check out a full list of CROW’s current patients and recent releases!

Wildlife doesn’t have health insurance! Your donations help cover the costs of medical and rehabilitative care for over 5,000 patients admitted to CROW’s Wildlife Hospital each year!

Want to learn more about wildlife rehabilitation? Stop by CROW’s Visitor Education Center at 3883 Sanibel Captiva Road.

About Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW)
Established in 1968, the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) is a teaching hospital saving the sick, injured and orphaned native and migratory wildlife of Southwest Florida and beyond.  Through state-of-the-art veterinary care, public education programs and an engaging visitor center, CROW works to improve the health of the environment, humans and our animals through wildlife medicine. For more information, or to plan your visit, go to If you find an animal that is in need of help, call (239) 472-3644 ext. #222.

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