Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel


Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
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.
SACC. 2005 and updates. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
Turbott, E.G. 1990. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2018 Least Concern
2016 Least Concern
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency Low
Land mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 167,000,000
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor suspected 1992
Population trend Decreasing suspected -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 15.5 - - -

Population justification: Del Hoyo et al. (1992) estimate that the population is likely several hundred thousand individuals. Therefore, the population is tentatively placed here in the range 100,000-499,999 individuals.

Trend justification: The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of exploitation.

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Australia N Extant Yes
Brazil N Extant Yes
British Indian Ocean Territory N Extant Yes
Brunei N Extant Yes
China (mainland) N Extant Yes
Christmas Island (to Australia) N Extant Yes
Cocos (Keeling) Islands (to Australia) N Extant Yes
Comoros N Extant Yes
Djibouti V Extant Yes
Eritrea V Extant Yes
Fiji N Extant Yes
French Polynesia N Extant Yes
Guam (to USA) U Extant Yes
India N Extant Yes
Indonesia N Extant Yes
Israel V Extant Yes
Japan N Extant Yes
Jordan V Extant Yes
Kenya V Extant Yes
Kiribati N Extant Yes
Madagascar N Extant Yes
Malaysia N Extant Yes
Maldives N Extant Yes
Marshall Islands N Extant Yes
Mauritius N Extant Yes
Mayotte (to France) N Extant Yes
Micronesia, Federated States of N Extant Yes
Mozambique V Extant Yes
Nauru N Extant Yes
New Caledonia (to France) N Extant Yes
New Zealand V Extant Yes
Northern Mariana Islands (to USA) N Extant Yes
Oman V Extant Yes
Palau N Extant Yes
Philippines N Extant Yes
Réunion (to France) N Extant Yes
Seychelles N Extant Yes
Singapore N Extant Yes
Solomon Islands N Extant Yes
Somalia V Extant Yes
South Korea N Extant Yes
Sri Lanka N Extant Yes
Taiwan, China N Extant Yes
Tanzania N Extant Yes
Thailand N Extant Yes
Timor-Leste N Extant Yes
Tonga N Extant Yes
United States Minor Outlying Islands (to USA) N Extant Yes
USA N Extant Yes
Vanuatu N Extant Yes
Vietnam N Extant Yes
Wallis and Futuna Islands (to France) N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
French Polynesia Manuae, Motu One et Maupihaa
French Polynesia Tetiaroa
Kiribati Malden Island
French Southern Territories Europa
Seychelles Aldabra Special Reserve
French Southern Territories Tromelin
Malaysia Mantanani islands
Indonesia Pulau Manuk
Australia Manowar and Rocky Islands
Australia Adele Island
Australia Bedout Island
Australia Ashmore Reef
Christmas Island (to Australia) North Keeling Island
Australia Raine Island, Moulter and Maclennan Cays
Australia Coringa-Herald Reefs
French Polynesia Crêtes et pentes du Mont Marau
Cocos (Keeling) Islands (to Australia) North Keeling Island
Palau Ngeriungs, Palau
French Polynesia Reitoru
Marshall Islands Enewetok Atoll
French Polynesia Hatu iti
Kiribati Nikumaroro (Gardner Island)
Kiribati McKean Island
Kiribati Abariranga (Canton) Island
Kiribati Orona Atoll (Hull Island)
Kiribati Enderbury Island
Kiribati Rawaki (Phoenix Island)
Kiribati Kiritimati (Christmas Island)
Kiribati Vostok Island
Kiribati Millenium (Caroline) Island
Fiji Vanua Masi Islet
Fiji Kibobo Islet
Fiji Nukubasaga & Nukupureti
Fiji Mabualau & Saqata Rocks
Fiji Namenalala
French Polynesia Rimatara
French Polynesia Vallée de Avera
French Polynesia Makatea
French Polynesia Vallée d'Opunohu
French Polynesia Morane
French Polynesia Motane (Mohotani)
French Polynesia Tikehau
French Polynesia Motu de l'ouest et du sud de Rangiroa
French Polynesia Fatu Huku
French Polynesia Hatuta'a
American Samoa Rose Atoll
French Polynesia Akamaru island
French Polynesia Tahanea
Kiribati Starbuck Island
French Polynesia Ilots rocheux de Ua Huka
French Polynesia Ilots rocheux de Ua Pou
French Polynesia Bora Bora
French Polynesia Anuanuraro
French Polynesia Haraiki
French Polynesia Motutunga
French Polynesia Nukutepipi
French Polynesia Hatu iti
Cook Islands Suwarrow Atoll National Park
Fiji Vatu-i-Ra
Palau Helen Island, Hatohobei
Palau Fana Island
French Southern Territories Europa - Marine
Australia Bedout Island - Marine
Australia Adele Island - Marine
Australia Ashmore Reef - Marine
Cocos (Keeling) Islands (to Australia) North Keeling Island - Marine
Seychelles Aldabra atoll / Cosmoledo atoll - Marine
Indonesia Pulau Manuk - Marine
Australia Bountiful Islands / Manowar & Rocky Islands - Marine
Australia Cape York to Cape Grenville Islands / Islands north of Port Stewart / Piper Islands / Raine Island, Moulter & Maclennan Cays (Great Barrier Reef) - Marine
Australia Coringa-Herald Reefs - Marine
Fiji Vetauua
United States Minor Outlying Islands (to USA) Baker Island
United States Minor Outlying Islands (to USA) Howland Island
United States Minor Outlying Islands (to USA) Palmyra Atoll
United States Minor Outlying Islands (to USA) Jarvis Island
Cook Islands Aitutaki
Cook Islands Atiu
Papua New Guinea Southern New Ireland Marine
Kiribati Phoenix Islands Marine
Kiribati McKean Island Marine
Kiribati Orona Atoll (Hull Island) Marine
Fiji Vanua Masi Marine
Fiji Ringgold Islands Marine
United States Minor Outlying Islands (to USA) Howland and Baker Marine
United States Minor Outlying Islands (to USA) Jarvis Island Marine
Cook Islands Suwarrow Atoll Marine
Kiribati Malden Island Marine
Kiribati Flint Island
New Caledonia (to France) Récifs d'Entrecasteaux
New Caledonia (to France) Îles des récifs Bampton et Chesterfield
New Caledonia (to France) Île Walpole
New Caledonia (to France) Île Hunter
Tonga Fonualei
Tonga Late
Tonga 'Ata Island
Vanuatu Tongoa and Ambae
Tokelau (to New Zealand) Atafu
Tokelau (to New Zealand) Nukunonu
Solomon Islands Kolombangara Upland Forest
Solomon Islands North-west Vella Lavella
Solomon Islands Gizo
Solomon Islands East Rennell
Australia Bramble Cay
Papua New Guinea Tench Island
French Polynesia Clipperton
Wallis and Futuna Islands (to France) Futuna
Wallis and Futuna Islands (to France) Alofi
Kiribati Flint Island Marine
French Polynesia Motane (Mohotani) Marine
New Caledonia (to France) Récifs Bampton et Chesterfield Marin
Fiji Ringgold Islands
Philippines Apo Reef Marine Natural Park

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Mangrove Vegetation Above High Tide Level suitable breeding
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
Shrubland Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable breeding
Altitude   Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Climate change & severe weather Temperature extremes Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Reduced reproductive success
Human intrusions & disturbance Recreational activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Reduced reproductive success
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Mus musculus Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Reduced reproductive success

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 (2023) Species factsheet: Fregata ariel. Downloaded from on 22/03/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/03/2023.