Information is from dictionaries and other sources. Comments and corrections welcome. All Malaysian and Indonesian names in the process of conversion into modernised spelling only. Hover over Green Lettering Green lettering at this site hides a tool tip with glosses, further explanations, etc. Hover cursor to reveal. to see additional information.
Like all traditional Malay names for pelagic seabirds, names for frigatebirds are rarely encountered in the records. Even today when names are provided, they are often assigned arbitrarily to the most prominent of the species in each family, which for the frigatebirds is Christmas Island Frigatebird Fregata andrewsi. Prior to ornithological inventions based on translations of the English names, all frigatebird species shared the same names, sometimes also with other kinds of seabirds.
The oldest recorded name particular to frigatebirds has several possible etymologies, but its use as a bird name is apparently longstanding since it occurs in both modern standards:
simbang ~ seimbang 'frigatebird'
Several kinds of dark-coloured fishing birds were collectively popularly named as aquatic crow-like birds. The group includes not only frigatebirds, but also cormorants (Phalacrocorax) and boobies (Sula), and perhaps others. In historical common usage these names were probably interchangeable, but contemporary sources record only the following:
Although dendang as 'crow' is retained in modern dictionaries, in modern popular usage it has largely been supplanted by its onomatopoetic synonym, gagak. Dictionaries also list dendang air as 'cormorant' and dendang laut as 'booby', along with dandang 'cormorant' (using a variant spelling of dendang). In contrast, ornithological Malaysian usage restricts and redefines dendang to mean 'booby'.
In modern ornithological Indonesian the frigatebirds are referred to by a traditional name for the skipjack tuna.
cikalang ~ cekalang ~ cakalang 'skipjack tuna'
In popular use, this name probably referred to any of several seabirds including boobies (Sula) and others. It is based on the practice of using fish-eating birds to locate schools of fish. The birds prey on shoals of small baitfish that have come to the surface to escape schools of larger fish such as tuna, which are the object of interest of the fishermen. (See boobies of Japan).
Another popular name which has been recorded as meaning 'frigatebird' has an uncertain etymology. It is used either by itself or with cikalang 'skipjack tuna'.
bintayung ~ cikalang bintayung 'frigatebird' ~ 'skipjacktuna frigatebird'
|Form of Name||Original Meaning||Ornithological Malaysian||Ornithological Indonesian|
SCIENTIFIC & WESTERN
OTHER S. E. ASIAN
Lesser frigate bird
|Burung Simbang Kecil
'small frigatebird (bird)' (24, 25, 26, 28)
|Burung Cikalang Kecil
'small skipjacktuna (bird)'
Burung Cikalang Kecil
'small skipjacktuna bird' (29)
nók coon-sa-làt lék
'small pirate bird'
|Chim Cốc biển bé
'little sea-cormorant (bird)' (12, 13)
Great frigate bird
|Burung Simbang Besar
'large frigatebird (bird)' (24, 25, 26, 28)
|Burung Cikalang Besar
'large skipjacktuna (bird)'
Burung Cikalang Besar
'large skipjacktuna bird' (29)
nók coon-sa-làt yày
'large pirate bird'
|Chim Cốc biển đen
'black sea-cormorant (bird)' (12, 13, 34)
'black-bellied warship-bird' (2, 4)
'small warship-bird' (1, 3, 5)
||Christmas Island frigatebird
Christmas Island frigate bird
|Burung Simbang Pulau Christmas
'Christmas Island frigatebird (bird)' (24, 25, 26, 28)
|Burung Cikalang Christmas
'Christmas skipjacktuna (bird)'
Burung Cikalang Bintayung
'frigatebird skipjacktuna bird' (29)
nók coon-sa-làt kòa kʰrít-mâat
'Christmas Island pirate bird' (kʰrít-mâat is from English 'Christmas')
|Chim Cốc biển bụng trắng
'white-bellied sea cormorant (bird)' (12, 34)
中国鸟类种和亚种分类名录大全（修订版） 郑作新 著 科学出版社 北京 2000年
A Complete Checklist of Species and Subspecies of the Chinese Birds (Revised Edition) by Cheng Tso-Hsin, Science Press, Beijing 2000
中国鸟类分类与分布名录 主编：郑光美 科学出版社 北京 2005年
A Checklist on the Classification and Distribution of the Birds of China Chief editor: Zheng Guangmei, Science Press, Beijing 2005
中国鸟类野外手册（中文版）约翰・马敬能、卡伦・菲利普斯，合作者：荷芬奇，翻译：卢和芬 湖南教育出版社 长沙 2000年
A Field Guide to the Birds of China (Chinese translation) by John MacKinnon, Karen Phillipps, in collaboration with He Fen-qi, translated by Lu Hefen, Hunan Jiaoyu Chubanshe (Hunan Educational Press) Changsha 2000
世界鸟类分类与分布名录 主编：郑光美 科学出版社 北京 2002年
A Checklist on the Classification and Distribution of the Birds of the World Chief editor: Zheng Guangmei, Science Press, Beijing 2002
世界鸟类名称（拉丁文、汉文、英文对照）第二版 郑作新等 科学出版社 北京 2002年
Birds of the World (Latin, Chinese and English Names) 2nd ed. by Cheng Tso-Hsin et al, Science Press, Beijing 2002
Danh Lục Chim Việt Nam (In lần thứ hai) (Checklist of the Birds of Vietnam) Võ Quý, Nguyễn Cử, Nhà Xuất Bản Nông Nghiệp, Hà Nội 1999
Chim Việt Nam Nguyễn Cử, Lê Trọng Trải, Karen Phillipps; Nhà Xuất Bản Lao Động - Xã Hội, 2000
Senarai Nama-nama Burung Semenanjung Malaysia dan Asia Tenggara by Ismail, Abdul Rahman, Perhilitan (Jabatam Perlindungan Hidupan Liar dan Taman Negara, Semenanjung Malaysia), Kuala Lumpur 1981
List of the Names of Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Southeast Asia by Ismail, Abdul Rahman, Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Peninsular Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur 1981
The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 1 - Non-passerines by Wells, David R., Academic Press, London 1999
A Field Guide to the Birds of West Malaysia and Singapore by Jeyarajasingam, Allen and Alan Pearson, Oxford University Press, Oxford 1999
A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore (second edition) by Jeyarajasingham, Allen, Illustrations by Alan Pearson, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2012
A Field Guide to the Birds of Java and Bali (second edition) by MacKinnon, John, Gadjah Mada University Press, Yogyakarta 1990
Danh Lục Các Loài Chim ở Việt Nam (Latinh, Việt, Pháp, Hán) Trần Văn Chánh 2008-2009