The Blue Footed booby is the comedian and clown of the Galapagos Islands, amusing and entertaining travelers with funny antics and of course those famously blue feet. At Galapagos, Blue footed boobies seem to be everywhere – on most or all days of a Galapagos vacation you’ll see lots of boobies! At most visitor sites you’ll see blue footed booby groups flying, dive-bombing, or hanging out on rocks. If you take care when picking your Galapagos itinerary, it’s even possible to visit a blue footed booby colony where thousands nest and interact together.
In particular the Blue Footed Booby mating dance is a wonderful spectactle to behold, and a highlight for many visitors. The mating ritual begins with the male booby presenting the gift of a stick or stone to the female, before clumsily strutting with their heads in the air, making a high-pitched whistle, and showing off their brightly-colored feet in the air. Females either accept or reject their suitors, goose-stepping and flapping their wings to signal their interest. If the flirting is successful then the blue footed booby pair are ready to prepare a nest together
Conservation Status: Least Concern
Scientific Name: Sula Nebouxii
This booby species is listed as Least Concern, and stable. Their range extends right up the Pacific coast of Central America, and the northern coastline of South America.
When to Find Them: Found year round at Galapagos. Booby mating season is from June to August, Hatching season runs from July onwards.
Identification of Blue Footed Boobies is never a problem, thanks to those bright blue feet. This iconic sea bird is a common sight throughout the archipelago, seen in the air and on land in groups foraging for food and nesting in large colonies.
The preferred blue footed booby habitat is on small islands with rocky coasts, with particularly large booby colonies found on North Seymour and Española islands. At these sites, visitors can get up close to the action as trails run right past booby nests, giving a wonderful opportunity to appreciate these fascinating birds from chick, to fledgling, to juvenile, to adult. Both parents play a part in raising their infants, taking turns guarding the nest and hunting for food.
Blue Footed Boobies are extremely agile in the air, and effective when diving for food. They dive together by folding their wings streamlined into their body, and descending like bullets at speeds of up to 60 mph. The ideal blue footed booby diet consists of schools of oily fish, such as sardines or anchovies. Between May and December, the Galapagos seas are particularly rich in nutrients and fish, so boobies and other seabirds are very active at this time.
Blue footed boobies have character and charisma in spades, and not surpisingly adorn popular T-shirts and souvenirs in Galapagos gift shops. It’s always fascinating to witness people’s first reaction on seeing these crazy birds – it’s usually a combination of awe and laughter, especially when performing their famous booby mating dance. The Galapagos Blue Footed booby is one of the top wildlife highlights for many visitors, so come check them out for yourself!