By, Jo Carol Hebert
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What color are the feet of the Blue-footed Booby? Uh, hum…let’s see now…Blue?
Yes! Bright, beautiful, sky-blue webbed feet make this seabird a ‘must-see’ bird.
The blue is due to the color pigments in their diet of fresh fish. Just like the Flamingos are pink/orange from their diet of crustaceans, like shrimp.
The ‘Booby’ Dance
Females are attracted to the males that have the ‘bluest’ feet. Males show off their fabulous feet by ‘clowning around.’ Their comical courtship dance includes high-stepping, marching, stomping, bowing, and perhaps, even hopping around on one foot.
Watch the Booby Bird Dance
Baby Boobies & Their “Poopy” Nest
Those happy feet will also cover their young to keep them warm. Both will be good parents. They leave their natural ocean habitats to gather in colonies to nest on land. The female lays a clutch of 2-3 eggs on the ground. Then, the parents ‘poop’ around the eggs.
Fun Fact: Providing poop to protect the eggs is a common seabird behavior. These large piles of feces is called ‘guano’.
Guano is a very good fertilizer for the soil.
Did you know that the Blue-footed Booby…
- has a bright white stomach?
- has brown wings with a 5-foot span?
- has a long, pointed, gray-blue beak?
- weighs 3.5 pounds?
- flies in flocks at 24 miles an hour?
- lives up to 17 years?
Elegant Flyer, Graceful Aquanaut
This seabird is a clumsy clown on land. It waddles like a duck. It looks around curiously with tiny, yellow eyes. But when this ‘ugly duckling’ flies and dives, he becomes Super Bird!
The Blue-footed Booby soars high above the ocean, beating expansive wings against the air and gliding effortlessly across the sky.
Spying a school of fish below, this skillful predator prepares to dive. The wings are folded back to streamline the body like a torpedo. He hits the water at a brain-crushing 60 miles an hour. Air bubbles in their head protect their brain.
With serrated beaks, the Booby becomes a deadly carnivore to fish, anchovies, and squid. Nostrils are sealed for protection from flooding with water in these dives.
Fun Fact: Boobies can breathe from the corners of their mouths.
Where in the World Are These Birds?
If you were on the move with our wonder boy, Reese, you could go to the Pacific coastlines of California, and Central and South America to see these marine birds. But most are found with many other unusual wildlife in the Galapagos Islands of the Pacific Ocean, where there are 40,000 protected breeding pairs. They are considered by wildlife conservationists as declining, but not endangered.
Did you also know that…
- a group of Boobies can be called a congress?
- sometimes, they dive together in groups?
- each has its own recognizable whistle
- the name, ‘booby’, comes from a Spanish word ‘bobo’, meaning silly
AND there is also a Red-footed Booby!
What color do you think his feet are?
Categories: Beaks & Bills