ALL ABOUT THE BLUE-FOOTED BOOBY

Collectively called Boobies, Blue- Footed Boobies have an unusual name, don’t they? Wait until you read about their unique mating rituals and why they have such a curious name to begin with.

WHY THE CURIOUS NAME?

These marine birds have striking colors. Their name originated from the physical appearance of their feet, which are vividly blue.

According to the website All About Birds, the term Booby reportedly originated from the Spanish word for stupid — bobo — and refers to these birds’ character and friendliness towards humans.

Unlike other bird species, these Booby birds like to interact with people who come close to their flock’s habitats. This made them easy to catch for food, especially for early mariners who presumed that these birds were stupid.

COME-HITHER HUE

The color of the males’ feet is brighter than that of the females because of their unique mating patterns.

WHY BLUE FEET?

Male and female Boobies both have blue feet. However, the males’ feet are of a brighter color, because that makes them more attractive to the opposite sex and gives them a better chance to reproduce, according to the NatureWorks website.

The color of the Booby’s feet also reveals the health of the male. The brighter the blue, the more nourished he is, which means
he is capable of feeding future offspring. This makes him more attractive to females.

INTERESTING RITUAL

Their feet color is important for the mating ritual. For male Boobies, the brighter their feet color, the more likely they are to find a mate.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica website, the mating ritual starts when a male displays an elaborate dance of raising his feet alternately, sky-pointing, and whistling continuously until his desired female Booby notices him. Once the Boobies have mated successfully, the female lays about one to three eggs in a simple bowl-shaped nest on the ground called a guano.

In addition, these Boobies co-parent their chicks and mate for life.

GENDER QUALITY

Both male and female Blue-Footed Boobies co-parent their chicks. They also mate for life.

LONG, PEACEFUL LIVES

The Boobies are large seabirds who generally live up to 17 years due to the lack of predators in their natural habitat.

Males reach sexual maturity when they are about two to six years of age, while females reach sexual maturity when they are about one to six years old.

According to a 2022 article from American Oceans, they mate all year round and are monogamous once they find a mate.

YEAR-ROUND MATING

Blue-Footed Boobies get to mate all year long with their life partners. Lucky them!

A FLOCK THAT EATS TOGETHER

The Blue-Footed Booby primarily feeds on fish and squid. Their favorites are anchovies, sardines, mackerel, flying fish, and other small fishes.

In addition, larger Boobies can consume larger prey, so they may have more types of fish on their menu.

Generally, female Boobies are larger than males and can dive deeper into the ocean to hunt for more types of larger fish or squid. The Blue-Footed Booby Birds can dive up to 65 feet deep in the hunt for prey.

These Boobies usually hunt in flocks of about a hundred or more and constantly dive from great heights to deep depths for a meal. They usually hunt during the day and rest at night. Moreover, after hunting, they return to their flocks on land. They then find a suitable perch near their flock to enjoy preening themselves after a satiating meal.

COASTAL CREATURES

Blue-Footed Boobies live in coastal areas in the tropical eastern Pacific (from the Gulf of California south to Peru) where their food and nesting grounds are highly accessible to them. They actively hunt for sea animals during the day and perch on rocks and other hard surfaces near the sea.

However, on rare occasions, they can also be found hunting in inland lakes.

In addition, despite their dauntless interaction with humans, their species continues to thrive because they build nests and breed in secluded ocean islands away from humans where they have very few natural predators on land or sea.

EXPERT DIVERS

Female Boobies can dive deeper than males to hunt for food, going as deep as 65 feet.

Stable Population

These Blue-Footed Boobies are not considered endangered species
at the moment. However, threats
to their natural habitat such as pollution, climate change, and food shortage may cause a decline in their population in the future.

Currently, they are classified as a species of least concern on the IUCN Red List as their population is stable.

SMART AND SURVIVING

Indeed, they are fascinating birds with unique beauty standards and mating rituals. Their unique colors are linked to their health, which then becomes a screening criterion for interested mates.

These Birds may have been presumed as stupid by early mariners, but they are actually quite intelligent, especially when it comes to breeding and hunting.

Blue-Footed Boobies are thriving at the moment. Let us hope it stays that way.