Why would I want to?”, you’re probably wondering. Well, these seabirds have several interesting features, besides their comical names, and you must admit the topic would be a great conversation opener.
The booby gets its name from the Spanish word “bobo” meaning a stupid fellow. And this goose-sized seabird really does have brilliant blue feet. He’s very clumsy on land and appears fearless of humans, which makes him seem very vulnerable, and not too smart.
The blue-footed booby is found on the Galapagos Islands, and on other islands off the western coasts of northern South America, Mexico, and tropical America, from the coast of California to southern Peru.
It has a white body, a brown and white-streaked head, a blue-grey face, a blue tapered bill, a long neck and brilliant blue webbed feet. It is a little less than a meter long and has a wingspan of almost 1.5 meters. It can live as long as 17 years.
It feeds singly or in a group and eats only fish. It glides smoothly over the waves, keeping its beak at a downward angle. When it sees a fish, it dives gracefully into the water, barely making a splash. It can also dive from a sitting position on the water’s surface
When in a flock, the first bird spotting a fish gives a whistle to alert the others, and they follow him, diving in perfectly synchronized movements.
The blue-footed booby may breed any time of year. During the mating ritual, the male bird shows off his feet to a possible mate by doing an exaggerated high-stepping strut. The bluer the feet, the more attractive he is. Then he presents nest materials to the female. After a brief courtship flight, mating occurs.
The female lays two or three light blue eggs in a shallow depression in the flat ground. The parents use their webbed feet, which have an increased blood supply, to cover the eggs and keep them warm. The young hatch in about 45 days. The female balances them on top of her feet for the first month of their lives.
Both parents feed the young continuously by regurgitating fish and allowing the chicks to remove it from their bills. It there is a food shortage, only the largest chick is fed. Chicks stay with their parents about two months
The blue-footed booby is legally protected on the Galapagos Islands, where there are about 20,000 breeding pairs. Other populations, numbering about 20,000, are slightly in danger because of egg collectors.
Now that you’ve been introduced to the blue-footed booby, you must agree it’s an interesting bird. As you share information about its habits and lifestyle, you should be guaranteed at least five minutes of attention from even the most reticent of conversationalists.