Red-footed and Blue-footed Boobies, Galapagos

Monday, 20 March 2017
We went to the Galapagos on a Silversea Excursion for "Spring Break." Put it on your bucket list! The islands are serene, remote, and hold an amazing concentration of unique animals that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. 

I especially loved photographing and studying the Red-footed and Blue-footed Boobies. 

Red-footed Boobie grooms in a bush on the Galapagos Islands.


(Information from the Silversea publication): The Red-footed Boobies are the smallest of the boobies in the Galapagos, but the most numerous, with an estimated population of over 130,000 pairs. They are easily recognized by their bright red feet, blue beaks, and colorful faces. This species has several color morphs, but in the Galapagos nearly all of them have brown plumage, about 95%, and the remaining 5% have white plumage.

These boobies forage during the day, making long trips of more than 55 miles out to sea. They are mainly looking for flying fish and squid. It is amazing to watch these birds glide low and fast over the ocean surface as they chase the tiny flying fish and catch them before they splash back into the ocean.
Mating pairs remain together for several seasons. Although not as spectacular as the Blue-footed Boobies, it is interesting to note their elaborate courtship display which includes short dances and the male’s display of his blue throat and harsh squawks.

These boobies are the only ones that build nests in trees and bushes, and they have specially adapted prehensile webbed feet to perch on branches.

Red-footed Boobies lay only one egg, which is incubated by both adults for 44-46 days. The pairs put all their efforts into rearing this only chick.


Blue-footed Boobies are similar to Red-footed Boobies except that they nest on the ground and have an elaborate dance when they are trying to entice a female to mate. I videoed some of their behavior and put together a few clips of their mating dance. This video also shows Land Iguanas. Enjoy and please share with little ones in your life that like to learn about animals.


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