What is a Blue-Footed Booby?

Alex Paul

The blue-footed booby is a species of bird that is found on tropical islands located in the Pacific. It is also naturally found on the Galapagos Islands, which were made famous by Charles Darwin. The blue-footed booby is around 32 inches (81 cm) long and is distinguishable by pointed, long wings along with a wedge tail. The reason the birds are called “booby” is that they can be extremely tame and hence easy to catch and kill for food.

A blue-footed booby's diet might occasionally include small squid.
A blue-footed booby's diet might occasionally include small squid.

The bird belongs to the Sulidae group, a family of birds that contains ten different species of seabird that are long-winged. The bird’s natural habitat is on tropical islands in the Pacific including off the coast of California. Although the birds need land to breed they are marine birds that spend most of its time at sea. This is part of the reason why the birds are so easy to catch when they are found on land.

Blue footed booby birds have a strong neck with eyes on both sides of its bill. One of the advantages the bird has over other marine species is that it has high-powered vision that can be used to spot prey from far away. The female of the species is usually a bit bigger than the male while both are a turquoise color. Some of the birds have a slightly darker blue coloring.

As a marine bird the blue-footed booby feeds only on fish such as mackerel and sardines. It is also not unheard of for the birds to eat squid. In order to catch food the bird will dive into the water and swim to hunt down its prey. The birds are known to hunt on their own as well as in flocks. When hunting in groups the birds will look for a school of fish before all diving together in order to maximize the chance of catching their prey.

When breeding the male dances to try and attract a mate. Generally, blue-footed booby birds are monogamous and will meet up with their partners during breeding season at the same breeding ground. After the chicks have hatched they must eat on a regular basis and hence the parents spend a lot of time hunting for fish to feed them. Due to the fact that the male is more specialized for diving it is he who provides most of the food during the initial months.

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