Blue Footed Booby

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Blue Footed Booby

It’s no mystery as to how the blue footed booby got its name! Male blue-footed boobies use their uniquely-colored feet to attract a mate, and will dance and strut in front of females in order to show them off. The brighter the shade of blue, the better!


Content List

1. Scientific & Common Names

2. Characteristics

a. Breeding

b. Behavior

3. History

4. Present Status


Scientific & Common Names

Kingdom - Animalia

Phylum - Chordata

Class - Aves

Order - Suliformes

Family - Sulidae

Genus – Sulis

Species – S. nebouxii

Common Names – Blue Footed Booby


Characteristics

The blue footed booby’s feet actually depict how well-nourished it is, because the shade of blue is directly related to its consumption of fresh and healthy fish. This bird is one of the few birds with blue skin, which can be seen on its face as well as its feet.


Breeding

Blue footed boobies gather in large nesting clusters of hundreds of birds. Foot coloration is a very important factor in selecting a mate, and male mating rituals often rely heavily on presenting the feet to the female, usually with a dance or strutting behavior.


Behavior

The booby is a marine bird that feeds on small fish and squid. They often hunt in groups and will dive into the ocean when prey is spotted, usually eating it while still underwater.


History

There are two subspecies of blue footed booby, one which lives on the Galapagos Islands, and another which lives on the Pacific coast. The species is also closely related to the Pervuian booby, which it can interbreed with. It lacks the distinctive blue skin of its cousin.


Present status

Although blue footed boobies are currently classified as “least concern” on the conservation status spectrum, a recent study suggested that their numbers in the Galapagos Islands are declining due to breeding troubles. Researchers believe that the booby’s breeding success is being affected by a decline in the sardine population, which is of one of their main food sources. There is no evidence of other possible causes.