The smallest of the frigatebirds, but note that the female is larger than the male. Adults are easier to identify than younger birds. Adult males are almost entirely black with a red throat and white spurs emanating outwards from the body onto the wing. Adult females have a black belly and throat, a white breast and hind collar, with similar white spurs on their sides. Juvenile and immature plumages are variable and are best separated from other frigatebirds by size when comparison is possible. Mostly silent except while breeding in oceanic islands. Strongly pelagic during non-breeding season but wind-blown or fatigued birds can be found from continental coasts.