The Christmas Island Frigatebird (Fregata andrewsi) is one of the most endangered seabirds in the world. It is also endemic to Christmas Island but in contrast to the Abbott's Booby, it has evolved on the island and never occurred anywhere else. Its population was estimated at about 1,200 breeding pairs in 2003, which equals a population decline of 80 % since 1890 and more than 16 % since 1985. Consequently, the Christmas Island Frigatebird is listed as "critically endangered" by the IUNC and is an "Alliance for Zero Extinction" species.

The reasons for the dramatic population decline are completely unknown. Similar to the Abbott's Booby, the frigatebirds and their breeding habitat are protected on Christmas Island. This makes it likely that the birds are exposed to serious threats in their marine habitat. However, the knowledge of their behaviour at sea like their foraging movements and prey requirements is very scarce. As such, it is not possible to identify the threats to the species and no management strategies can be developed.

The urgently needed information on the at-sea behaviour of the species is currently being gathered in the Christmas Island Seabird Project. Breeding adults are equipped with GPS-loggers and satellite tags to determine foraging areas and the exposure to anthropogenic threats at sea. The reproductive success is examined by nest monitoring and fitness and immune competence of adults and chicks are determined by lab analyses.

If you would like to specifically support the investigations of the foraging and migration movements of these birds, there is a possibility to adopt a frigatebird!
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