Jun 17

Happy Blue-footed Booby Day!    

We hope you’re all celebrating in style, but why does this rather comical bird warrant its own day of recognition?    

What’s in a name?

The common name “booby” comes from the Spanish word bobo, meaning ‘fool’ or ‘dunce’ in reference to the clumsiness of the birds on land. And “blue-footed”? Well, see for yourself…  

Photo of blue-footed booby feet

Blue-footed booby feet

Fancy footwork

These stunning feet play an important role in courtship. As far as a female blue-footed booby is concerned, the brighter the better. It’s thought foot colour is linked to diet and in turn health. So to get off on the right foot with a potential partner you want those twinkle toes sparkling. What a fantastic example of evolution at work. See footage of blue-footed booby courtship on ARKive.   

Photo of blue-footed booby pair in courtship display

Blue-footed booby pair in courtship display

Fishy feeders

Found on the Pacific Coast of the Americas including the Galapagos Islands, these birds usually nest in colonies of up to several hundred. They’re carnivorous, diving to feed on fish and squid. They’ve also been reported to snatch flying fish from the air – perhaps they too don’t always like to get their feet wet!   

Photo of a group of blue-footed boobies hunting and diving into sea

Group of blue-footed boobies hunting and diving into sea

In the Galapagos, this charismatic species may be vulnerable to a number of threats facing the islands, including introduced predators, increasing tourism and urbanisation, unsustainable fishing and pollution.  

So, today the Galapagos Conservation Trust are asking us all to celebrate these charismatic birds and in turn help protect the amazing wildlife of the Galapagos.  For more information, videos and pictures of the blue-footed booby visit the ARKive species page.

Lauren Pascoe, ARKive Media Researcher

  • Kaylen (June 17th, 2011 at 6:35 pm):

    Highly interested in this; reading this for science class.