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Blue-Footed Booby » Characteristics, Eating and Reproductive Habits

The Blue footed Booby is a rare bird known by names such as Booby Bird, Blue breasted Boobie and Blue feet bird.

Its scientific name is Sula Nebouxii and it is a Suliform bird member of the family Sulidae. As you can imagine, the most common name of this rare animal is due to the intense blue color of its legs, this being the characteristic that distinguishes it from the rest of the gannets.

Physical Characteristics of Blue-footed boobies

As we mentioned before, the main characteristic of this extraordinary rare bird is the intense blue color of its legs. Although not all have the same shade, as the legs of males and young are lighter, while those of females are darker.

But not only this makes the difference between male and female, so does the fact that the female is much larger than the male. The specimens of this species measure between 80 and 85 centimeters long and reach a weight of approximately 1.5 kilograms.

The blue-footed booby has bright yellow eyes that are very well developed, thus allowing them to easily visualize their prey. On the other hand, its wings are brown and are characterized by being long and sharp.

The blue-footed sula is found in the seas where it spends most of its time, in fact it only goes ashore to reproduce.

If there is one thing that catches the eye of this bird, it is the spectacle of watching it dive into the sea. It can do so from a height of 30 meters and at a maximum speed of 100 kilometers per hour.

Before plunging, they place their wings backwards like the tip of an arrow, surprisingly their nostrils close, a protective membrane covers their eyes and air sacs under their skin cushion the impact against the water.

The communication system used by these birds consists of whistles which in the case of the males is strong and stunning, but that of the females is much lower.

According to research the life expectancy of this particular rare bird is on average 17 years.

Where do Blue footed boobies Live?

This strange bird frequently inhabits the waters off western Mexico, in Peru, the Galapagos Islands. They can also be found in the Gulf of California.

What the Blue-footed boobies Eats?

The blue-foots, feed mainly on fish and invertebrates such as mackerel, sprats, herrings, pions, sardines and anchovies.

To capture their prey underwater, they use their wings and legs. They have the amazing ability to be able to fish for 30 hours straight or until needed. They never return to the surface without their food.

At other times they don’t dive into the sea but hunt in mid-air.

Although they are very independent in getting their food, it is not uncommon for them to hunt in groups.

How does this rare bird Reproduce?

Like a large number of birds, the blue-footed booby is a monogamous species, although sometimes they have more than one partner.

In this species, the blue colour of the legs plays an important role. The male exhibits them to the female while performing a kind of dance in order to impress her.

This species lays 1 to 3 eggs 2 to 4 days apart. Both parents take turns to incubate the egg for 44 days. In this bird something exceptional happens, the parents use their webbed feet to keep the egg warm.

The rarity of this bird is also evident when the eggs hatch: the first chick to be born attacks and drives the others out of the nest. Because they are less developed they will die days later from dehydration or predator attacks.

Blue-footed Predators and Threats

Common predators for a Blue-footed are usually larger birds that live in or arrive in the same territory, such as hawks and owls and even some fish.

However, it is important to know that most of the time these animals only look for defenseless young and especially for those that are thrown out of the nest by the older brother.

The population of the Blue-footed Booby has decreased in recent years due to the over-exploitation of its habitat, the introduction of species such as rats and climatic phenomena that make it difficult for them to get food.