The Christmas Island frigatebird is the ninth most evolutionary distinct and globally endangered bird in the world. Christmas Island is its home and the only place in the world where it breeds and nests in the forest canopy. Australia shares this bird with Indonesia.Â The male frigatebird has a bright red throat pouch called a ‘gular’, that it blows up like a fancy balloon to attract females during the mating season. It takes at least 15 months for a pair of Christmas Island frigatebirds to raise one chick to independence, and the birds can live as long as 50 years. Frigatebirds primarily forage in the ocean for food, scooping marine organisms such as fish and squid. Over-fishing in its south-east habitat effects food availability for the frigatebird, contributing to the decline of the species.
Christmas Island Frigatebird, Andrew's Frigatebird |
Status: Endangered on the EPBC Act list
Government evidence of impact of climate change:
IUCN Red List Assessment, Fregata andrewsi
Extreme weather; habitat shifts and ecosystem degradation associated with climate change poses an ongoing and future threat to the species.
Demonstrated effects of increased sea surface temperatures and decreased marine productivity on the foraging of Abbott s Boobies around Christmas Island (Hennicke and Weimerskirch 2014); suggest that the impacts of climate change are already affecting the seabird food chain in the Christmas Frigatebird s breeding range.
The low number; limited extent and reduced size of breeding areas render the species highly susceptible to stochastic events and vulnerable to further habitat loss; either through resumed mining operations; other sources of pollution or climate change.