Blue-footed Booby

Blue-footed Booby mating display, bird on right is "sky pointing"

Blue-footed Booby mating display, bird on right is “sky pointing”

There are not many places on earth for observing this delightful creature, for they are a marine bird found only on a few tropical and sub-tropical spots in the Pacific Ocean.  A trip to Espanola Island in the Galapagos yielded a fascinating introduction.


Sula nebouxii breed here where their ground nesting succeeds without animal or human disturbance, and they are surrounded by plenty of tasty meals.  They eat fish and are extraordinary divers, aligning their large body and wings in a streamlined bullet as they pierce the waters.  A large bird, about the size of a bald eagle, they measure approximately 36 inches long with a wingspan of over 4.5 feet.  To learn  more click here. 


Female Blue-footed Booby

Female Blue-footed Booby

We found their breeding colony and were entertained for hours observing their mating dance.  A sunny, open expanse of lava and rocks was the scene for over a hundred of these showy birds.


Blue-footed Booby on nest (note the egg)

Blue-footed Booby on nest (note the egg)

Their mating displays are loud and raucous, and the dance is truly spectacular.  They have elaborate gestures that include strutting, dancing, lifting and presenting their feet, sky pointing, whistling, bowing, and nodding.  All of this is done in a ritualistic order.  What a crazy, surreal scene it was to see dozens and dozens of pairs in different stages of displaying, mating, and nesting.



Blue-footed-BoobyWhen I see humans acting oddly in public, strutting and posing and doing their best to attract a mate, I am sweetly reminded of the glorious day we watched the blue-footed boobies on that island in the Pacific.


Photo credit:  Athena Alexander

49 thoughts on “Blue-footed Booby

  1. I’ve seen them from afar in the north of Peru, near Ecuador but I couldn’t see their blue feet. There are so many amazing sea birds that we don’t see that often. Thanks for the interesting post Jet! 🙂

  2. Hi there,dear Jet !
    I don’t really know how many times I’ll visit the ” Blue-footed Booby ” post in order to admire this phenomenal species in the kingdom of birds ! Athena did capture stunning photos,but I am amazed by the first one,where it clearly shows the male’s performance and acrobatic abilities to enduce his mate ! Superb,work ! Bravo 🙂
    PS : I showed my family the post and my little sweet pea … decided that they look as if they wear flippers !!! Warm Greetings from this end 田田!

  3. I am smiling at the image of you showing this to your loved ones. I like that first photo so much that it adorns my living room wall. Thank you, so very much, dear Doda. 🌟

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