Sea Creature of the week!

Sep 19 2011

Blue-Footed Booby

Scientific Name: Sula Nebouxil

Family: Sulidae

Home: You can find our avian friends hanging out on Central and South American Islands off the Pacific coast. There presence on Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands has contributed to their fame!

Physical Characteristics: The Blue-Footed Booby grows to be about 32 inches in length and up to 3.5 pounds. The wingspan of these birdies are about 5ft long which is rather large compared to their bodies. Generally, the female tends to be slightly larger than her male counterpart. Their forward-facing yellow eyes sit on either side of their bill giving them optimal binocular vision. Our little friends’ nostrils are permanently sealed shut which suits their diving lifestyle just fine. If you haven’t figured it already this specie of Booby has blue feet!

Food: These avian creatures are dependent on the ocean as a source of food. They fish for sardines, anchovies, mackerel, flying fish, squid, and offal. Upon spotting their prey, these marine birds will plunge into the ocean from up to 100 meters in the air. They can dive as deep as 25ft below the ocean’s surface and consume their food while still underwater!

Fun Facts:

• The name booby is derived from the spanish word “bobo” which translates as stupid, fool, or clown. Upon their arrival to the New World the European characterized our blue-footed friends this way based on their observation of the birds’ clumsy mannerisms on land (their least graceful habitat).

• Males attract their mates by flaunting their blue feet, the bluer the better. They will dance and strut around the female in an attempt to seal the deal!

• Consistent with their local culture the males will throw their heads in the air and whistle at attractive females flying by!

• Generally, the female booby’s feet are darker than the male!

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