Christmas Frigatebird Fregata andrewsi


Taxonomic source(s)
Christidis, L. and Boles, W.E. 2008. Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
B2ab(ii,iii,v) A2bcde+3cde; B2ab(ii,iii,v) A2bcde+3cde; B2ab(ii,iii,v); D2

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2018 Critically Endangered B2ab(ii,iii,v)
2016 Critically Endangered B2ab(ii,iii,v)
2015 Critically Endangered B2ab(ii,iii,v)
2013 Critically Endangered B2ab(ii,iii,v)
2012 Critically Endangered B2ab(ii,iii,v)
2010 Critically Endangered B2a+b(ii,iii,v)
2009 Critically Endangered B2a+b(ii,iii,v)
2008 Critically Endangered
2007 Critically Endangered
2005 Critically Endangered
2004 Critically Endangered
2000 Critically Endangered
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Vulnerable
1988 Threatened
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Medium
Land mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 16 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 7,160,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 2 medium
Number of locations 1 -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 2400-4800 good estimated 2003
Population trend Decreasing good estimated -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 50-79 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations 1 - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation 100 - - -
Generation length (yrs) 15.5 - - -

Population justification: The most recent population census indicates a population of 2,400-4,800 mature individuals (D. James in litt. 2003), roughly equivalent to 3,600-7,200 individuals in total. A recent genetic analysis estimated the effective population size to be approximately 5,000 individuals (Morris-Pocock et al. 2012).

Trend justification: A historical review suggests that the population declined by around 66% over the last three generations (James 2003), apparently owing to habitat clearance and dust fallout from phosphate mining, marine pollution, over-fishing and bycatch in fishing gear. These declines are projected to continue. Surveys from 2008-2013 show an on-going declining trend in breeding numbers (Hennicke 2014). While the introduced yellow crazy ant has not yet been shown to adversely affect frigatebird colonies directly, it undoubtedly represents a serious future threat due to ant related changes in breeding habitat quality. A substantial cause of mortality, likely to affect population size and trend of the species, is intentional killing in Southeast Asia (Tirtaningtyas and Hennicke 2015).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Australia V Extant Yes
Brunei N Extant Yes
Cambodia N Extant Yes
China (mainland) N Extant Yes
Christmas Island (to Australia) N Extant Yes
Cocos (Keeling) Islands (to Australia) V Extant Yes
Hong Kong (China) N Extant Yes
India V Extant Yes
Indonesia N Extant Yes
Japan V Extant Yes
Malaysia N Extant Yes
Philippines N Extant Yes
Singapore N Extant Yes
Sri Lanka N Extant Yes
Thailand N Extant Yes
Timor-Leste N Extant Yes
Vietnam V Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Timor-Leste Areia Branca no Dolok Oan
Indonesia Pulau Rambut
Indonesia Pulau Dua
Indonesia Ujung Kulon
Malaysia Bako-Buntal Bay
Malaysia Mantanani islands
Malaysia Tempasuk plains
Malaysia Tanjung Datu-Samunsam Protected Area
Malaysia Talang-Satang National Park
Thailand Hat Nopharat Thara - Mu Ko Phi Phi
Cambodia Koh Tang Archipelago
Malaysia Sipadan islands
Christmas Island (to Australia) Christmas Island
Christmas Island (to Australia) Christmas Island - Marine
Christmas Island (to Australia) Indian Ocean, Eastern 5 - Marine
Indonesia Indian Ocean, Eastern 25 - Marine
India Ringi Island, Andaman Islands
Indonesia Semau
Indonesia Teluk Kupang
Thailand Inner Gulf of Thailand
Malaysia Klias peninsula

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland major breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable resident
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major resident
Marine Neritic Pelagic major resident
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major resident
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major resident
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major resident
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major resident
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major resident
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) major resident
Marine Oceanic Mesopelagic (200-1000m) major resident
Altitude   Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Small-holder farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Biological resource use Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Whole (>90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 7
Indirect ecosystem effects, Species mortality
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Very Rapid Declines High Impact: 8
Species mortality
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Whole (>90%) Unknown Unknown
Ecosystem degradation
Climate change & severe weather Storms & flooding Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Whole (>90%) Very Rapid Declines Medium Impact: 7
Ecosystem degradation
Energy production & mining Mining & quarrying Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Unlikely to Return Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Past Impact
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion, Species mortality
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Anoplolepis gracilipes Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Whole (>90%) Unknown Unknown
Indirect ecosystem effects
Pollution Industrial & military effluents - Type Unknown/Unrecorded Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Whole (>90%) Unknown Unknown
Ecosystem degradation

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - Non-trivial Recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Fregata andrewsi. Downloaded from on 15/10/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 15/10/2021.