The Blue Footed Booby

Jan 6, 2016 by Steve Franklin

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The Blue Footed Booby makes it home in the Rocky Point area primarily in the spring when breeding takes place on the islands of San Jorge or Bird Island. All of the photos you see here were Blue Footed Boobys that were on the rocks of Cholla Bay, Pelican Point and Competition Hill near the water.

The Booby gets its name from the Spanish word ‘Bobo’ which means idiot or stupid bird. This is due to its goofy stride when it walks on land. They are quite the spectacle to observe.

There are several species of Booby birds. There are Red Footed and Brown Footed Boobys as well as the Blue Footed. You will find Brown-Footed on Bird Island also. The Blue are much more of a spectacle to look at. They have blue bills and blue feet. The bluer their feet the younger they are and the more fertile they are for breeding. The females look for the bluest feet in a male.

The males will do a quirky dance and raise their bills to the sky when trying to impress a mate. Kind of like an Americano in bar on the Malecón.

Blue Footed Boobys eat fish 100% of the time. They especially like catching flying fish from the air when dolphins and other pelagic fish scare the flying fish out of the water. They also eat sardines, bonito and anchovies.

They dive into the ocean and swim under the water for up to 5 minutes searching for their prey.

Blue Footed Boobys can be found from Southern California shorelines down to South America shorelines. They have been seen in desert lakes in California, Arizona and Texas in the winter months but mainly stay on the ocean coast throughout the year. Their largest breeding area is in the Galapagos Islands.

Besides their blue feet and blue bills they are primarily brown and white. They are about the size of a large seagull with a wingspan of 5-feet.

They lay 1 to 3 blue eggs and incubate them on the bare ground with no nest, which is why they prefer islands that are more protected from predators.

I have not been able to capture a photo of young booby chick, but they look like furry white cotton balls are attached all over their body.

My favorite thing to do when I see a couple of Blue Footed Boobys is shout to my wife, “hey honey, look at those nice pair of boobys”. This way, I feel I am keeping her ‘abreast’ of the Booby situation in Rocky Point.

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