BirdLyfe: The Blue-Footed Booby

Blue-footed Booby in the Galapagos. ©Fotolia Premium –

Let us introduce you to the Blue-Footed Booby — one of the quirkiest looking birds you’ll ever come across. It’s signature bright blue feet, quizzical expression and absurd honking call will have you in stitches!

This species is at home on the west coasts of Central and South America as well as the Galapagos islands where it has maintained healthy populations and is of least conservation concern.

Here are five interesting facts about the Blue-Footed Booby.

Booby Means ‘Stupid.’
The Blue-Footed Booby gets its name from the Spanish word ‘bobo’ which means stupid. This is probably due to its clumsy walk or completely fearless approach to life.

They Have Bright Blue Feet
You can’t miss those blue feet! The colour is said to be caused by the carotenoid found in their fish diet. The bluer their feet, the healthier their immune system and the more attractive they are to the opposite sex.

Those unmistakable blue feet. © Greg Lasley

They are Excellent Divers
That’s right! While they are particularly clumsy on land, they are deadly missiles in the air, diving from as high as 80ft to catch their fish. They can make their bodies entirely streamlined, folding back their wings back to penetrate the water with ease. It is believed they even have an air sac in their skull to protect their brain from the impact and pressure underwater.

They Like to Dance
Male Blue-footed bobbies perform elaborate courtship dances, flying around flaunting their blue feet, putting on an exaggerated side step and presenting pieces of the nest to the female.

Blue-footed booby with its offspring on bare black lava of Lobos, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. © Alex Tsarfin

Their Feet Are Made For Warming.
Unlike most other birds, blue-footed boobies lack brooding patches of featherless skin used to keep their eggs warm. Instead, they must use their feet which have increased blood supply. When the eggs begin to hatch, the female supports the hatchlings on top of her feet for an entire month!