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Blue-footed Booby

Sula nebouxii

Length: 32 inches Wingspan: 62 inches Seasonality: Non-resident in South Dakota
ID Keys: Bright blue feet, gray bill, white underparts, brownish-gray upperparts

Blue-footed Booby - Sula nebouxiiThe Blue-footed Booby is probably best known as a resident of the Galapagos Islands, but the species ranges near shorelines across the eastern Pacific.  Their mating rituals are a popular feature on nature shows from the Galapagos.  Both the females and the males will proudly display their beautiful blue feet to each other in a very elaborate courtship.  As with other Booby species, they are named after the Spanish word "bobo", which refers to a lack of intelligence.  The term was used because of the species' lack of fear of man, and easy capture.  While their normal range is typically south of the United States, strays have been found relatively frequently in southern California, particularly around the Salton Sea, and occasionally elsewhere in the southwestern U.S.

Habitat: The Blue-footed Booby is an oceanic bird, but is rarely found far from land.  Their time on land is typically limited to the breeding season, when they use rocky shorelines.

Diet: Fish and squid make up nearly all of the diet.

Behavior: Blue-footed Boobies are plunge-divers, making dives between 3 and 25 feet below the surface in search of fish and squid. 

Nesting: No nest is constructed, as eggs are laid directly in a small depression on rocky ground.  Both males and females share in the incubation of the eggs (typically 2 eggs), and both parents help to raise the young.

Song: The Blue-footed Booby is generally silent outside the summer breeding season.  On breeding grounds, a carrying honking sound can be heard from females and the young.

Migration: The Blue-footed Booby is considered a permanent resident throughout most of its range.  However, non-breeding birds do disperse outside of normal breeding grounds.

Interactive eBird Map: Click to access an interactive eBird map of Blue-footed Booby sightings

Similar Species: Similar to other Booby species that have been found in North America, including the Red-footed Booby, Masked Booby, and Brown Booby.

Conservation Status: The Blue-footed Booby is considered a species of "least concern".  They have a wide geographic distribution and are relatively common, with stable populations.

Further Information: 1) Cornell's Neotropical Birds - Blue-footed Booby

2) AvianWeb - Blue-footed Booby

3) National Geographic - Blue-footed Booby

Photo Information: September 12th, 2004 - Galapagos Islands - Mark Figueras - Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

Additional Photos: Additional Photos Coming Soon!!


Click below for a higher-resolution map
Blue-footed Booby - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Non-resident in South Dakota

Additional Blue-footed Booby Photos (coming soon!!)