Letter | Published:

Etho–Ecological Adaptations in the Great Frigate-bird

Naturevolume 214page318 (1967) | Download Citation



RECENT work on tho great frigate-bird Fergata minor of the Galapagos island of Tower disclosed a unique syndrome of adaptations to a markedly erratic and non-seasonal food supply. The Fergatidae have not only evolved a strongly aerial life, becoming morphologically specialized with reduced tarsi, tiny unwebbed zygodactylous feet, vestigial uropygial gland (plumage water-proofing unnecessary) and a ratio of wing span to weight greater than in any other sea-bird (about four times as great as the comparably sized, sympatric and far-flying waved albatross (Diomedea irrorata)) but, if Fergata minor is typical, they also differ from all other members of their order Pelicaniformes in several basic reproductive mechanisms.

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  1. 1

    Coulson, J. C., Animal Behaviour, 14, 189 (1966).

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  1. Department of Zoology, University of Aberdeen

    • J. B. NELSON


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