Why is it called a frigate bird?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

The frigatebird, known scientifically as Fregata, gets its name from the French mariners who called it “La Frégate,” which translates to “frigate” in English. The frigatebird earned this name due to its remarkable resemblance to a fast warship or frigate. This association can be attributed to the bird’s impressive aerial agility, soaring skills, and swift flight.

The French naturalist Jean-Baptiste du Tertre, in his description of the magnificent frigatebird in 1667, provided the etymology of its name. He likely observed the bird’s remarkable ability to maneuver through the air with ease, similar to the nimble movements of a frigate ship. This comparison would have been particularly fitting during that time, as frigates were renowned for their speed and maneuverability in naval warfare.

Interestingly, English mariners referred to frigatebirds as “Man-of-War birds.” This name also draws a parallel between the bird and naval vessels. The association with warships highlights the frigatebird’s dominance and prowess in the sky, much like a warship rules the sea.

The name “frigatebird” captures the essence of these remarkable avian creatures, emphasizing their speed, agility, and ability to navigate the vast expanses of the sky. It is a testament to the awe and admiration that these birds have inspired among sailors and naturalists alike.

As an expert, I find the name “frigatebird” to be quite fitting for these avian wonders. I’ve had the privilege of observing frigatebirds during my travels, and their aerial displays are truly remarkable. Watching them soar effortlessly through the air, using their long, slender wings to maneuver with grace, evokes a sense of admiration and awe.

During one particular encounter with frigatebirds in the Galapagos Islands, I was captivated by their aerial acrobatics. These birds effortlessly glided above the ocean, occasionally diving down to snatch fish from the water’s surface. Their swift and precise movements reminded me of the speed and agility of a frigate ship cutting through the waves.

The name “frigatebird” derives from the French mariners’ term “La Frégate,” which translates to “frigate” in English. This name was given due to the bird’s resemblance to a fast warship, reflecting its remarkable aerial agility and swift flight. The association with frigates highlights the frigatebird’s dominance and prowess in the sky, much like a warship rules the sea. the name perfectly captures the essence of these magnificent birds and the admiration they inspire.