Tag Archive: boobies

áReád-Footed Booby   Sula sula                       Sulidae

Distribution: found widely in the tropics, and breed colonially in coastal regions especially  islands.  

Habitat: Feed at sea, but nest on land, perching in coastal trees and shrubs.

Appearance: The Red-footed Booby is the smallest of all boobies at about 70 centimetres (28 in) in length and with a wingspan of up to 1 metre (3.3 ft). It has red legs, with its bill and throat pouch colored pink and blue.  Red-footed boobies appear in a variety of color morphs but all have red feet giving its name. In the white morph the plumage is mostly white (the head often tinged yellowish) and the flight feathers are black.

Diet: S. sula  are spectacular divers, plunging into the ocean at high speeds to catch prey. They mainly eat small fish or squid which gather in groups near the surface.

Remarks: These gregarious birds live in colonies and, during mating season, hundreds of animals may gather to pair up and mate. Females lay only one egg every 15 months, and both parents care for chicks. Young mature slowly, but the low reproduction rate is balanced by these birds’ long lifespan—over 20 years.

The biggest threats to red-footed boobies are a fishing industry that thins their food source, and coastal development with disappearing of the world’s coastlines.

Photo: Jean Haddad

Masked Booby

Sulidae dactylata                         Sulidae

Distribution: Breeds in Bahamas and West Indies, and on other islands in tropical Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans such as the  Galápagos Islands.

Habitat: Tropical seas, except when nesting in small colonies, on sandy beaches in shallow depressions.

Appearance: 32inches; (81 cm). A stocky white seabird with black tail, black tips and trailing edges to the wings, and stout pinkish or orange bill.

Diet:Mainly eat small fish, including flying fish.

Remarks: Boobies have little fear of humans. Because of their tameness they were easily killed for food by early mariners, who gave them their name (from the Spanish bobo or stupid) for this reason. Boobies obtain their prey in spectacular plunges from the air into the sea

Galápagos Video link   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VySe1X12gqs&hd=1

Blue-Footed Booby

Sula nebouxii   Sulidae

Distribution:  Baja Peninsula to northern peru and Galápagos Islands.

Habitat: The Blue-footed Booby is strictly a marine bird. Their only need for land is to breed, which they do along rocky coasts.

Appearance:   Average 81 centimetres (32 in) long and weighs 1.5 kilograms (3.3 lb), with the females slightly larger than the males.   S. nebouxii has long pointed wings and a wedge shaped tail.  The booby’s  yellow eyes are placed on either side of their bill and oriented towards the front with excellent binocular vision.  The male has more yellow on its iris than the female.   Their feet range from a pale turquoise to a deep aquamarine. Males and younger birds have lighter feet than females do.

Remarks: When they spot a school of fish, they will all dive in unison. They point their bodies down like an arrow and dive into the water plunging from heights of 33–100 ft (10–30.5 m) and even up to 330 ft (100 m). They hit the water around 60 mph (97 km/h) and can go to depths of 82 ft usually eating while underwater.

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