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(frigate birds), a family of birds of the order Pelecaniformes. The body length is 78 to 100 cm. The wings are long and pointed; the wingspread reaches 2 m. The tail is long and bifurcate; the legs are short. The toes have long talons and are webbed at the base. The plumage is dark with a metallic sheen. There is one genus, embracing five species. Frigate birds are distributed on tropical oceanic islands. Unlike other seabirds, they do not fly far from their nesting places. Their uropygial, or preen, glands are poorly developed, causing the plumage to become wet easily. Because of this, the birds cannot rest on the water. Frigate birds nest in groups on trees or shrubs, often near colonies of gannets and other seabirds, from whom they seize prey and fledglings. A clutch contains one egg, which is incubated for 40 to 50 days. The birds feed on marine invertebrates, flying fishes, and young seabirds. The species F. ariel migrates to the Soviet Far East.