What is it about Blue-Footed Boobies?

Detail of the legs of a blue-footed booby (Sula nebouxii)

Detail of the legs of a blue-footed booby (Sula nebouxii)
Detail of the legs of a blue-footed booby (Sula nebouxii) | Source

Pair of blue-footed boobies

Pair of blue-footed boobies
Pair of blue-footed boobies | Source

Foot Fetish for Females of Blue-footed Boobies


Do looks count? You can bet it does when it comes to the seabirds known as blue-footed boobies!

The color of their feet helps determine which male will be preferred over another when it comes to mating with a female. The female will always pick a male with the most colorful feet. Scientists have studied this and have determined this to be factual.

The more vivid colors in these webbed feet is a good indicator of the overall health of the birds and just as humans often start losing color in their hair as they age with it turning to grey or white...the blue footed boobies gradually start losing coloration in their feet. Thus the younger, heartier and healthier genes are passed on to the next generation by the females choosing the most vividly pigmented feet of their male suitors.

Unlike humans who sometimes mask their true hair color...there are no salons in the wild which can artificially tint a male blue-footed booby's feet back to its more saturated coloration.

Do male blue-footed bobbies flaunt this fact? Yes indeed!

What in the World is a Blue Footed Booby?

Blue-footed booby courtship display

Blue-footed booby courtship display
Blue-footed booby courtship display | Source

Blue-footed Booby Courtship


They flip their feet up and down and dance in front of females showing off their pretty feet when they are in a courting mode. If they were human, blue-footed boobies would be like the famed dancer Fred Astaire all decked out wearing blue shoes!

Interesting birds to be sure, many of them are found in the Galapagos Islands and they range from the Gulf of California on down to Peru.

These seabirds can dive from great heights and they seek out schools of fish where they actually consume them while still underwater.

Their favorite fish to dine upon is the sardine. I don't blame them! Sardines can be a tasty food especially if gotten fresh.

If you have only ever eaten them in those little tins, do yourself a favor and try and find some fresh ones to eat. My hubby and I got to eat sardines in Spain and remember it with gustatory pleasure.

Blue-Footed Booby Bird Mating Dance

Nesting Blue-footed booby

Nesting Blue-footed booby
Nesting Blue-footed booby | Source

Egg laying practices of some other birds

Type of Bird
Eggs laid how many days apart
Eagles
3 days
Ospreys
1 to 3 days
Hummingbirds
1 to 3 days
American Robin
1 day

Blue-footed Booby Eggs


One interesting thing about how these birds produce offspring is in their laying of eggs. A span of about five days can be the interval between egg laying for Blue-footed boobies.

The average number of eggs laid by Blue-footed boobies are two.

Obviously the oldest egg hatches first in this type scenario. Typically since it is the biggest and strongest of the chicks, it often gets the most of the regurgitated food from the parent birds.

Sometimes the older chick actually kills the younger ones. Talk about sibling rivalry! The younger chicks are very mismatched in this type of encounter.

The parent birds do not interfere in this rivalry between the chicks. In fact often the older chick is fed first by the parent bird.

Natural selection relating to Darwin's theory of evolution would seem to be more of random luck in this case.

That first egg and subsequent hatched chick most often wins the lottery with regard to survival.





Did you know about the different egg laying practices of birds?

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Quite a few birds lay their eggs not all at the same time from what I learned. However some (as in the case of the American Robin for example) do not start incubating the eggs until the entire clutch is laid.

Some birds start incubating after the first or second egg is laid thereby having the chicks hatching at different intervals such as is the case with Blue-footed boobies.

Blue footed Booby on North Seymour Island in the Galapagos

 Blue footed Booby on North Seymour Island in the Galapagos
Blue footed Booby on North Seymour Island in the Galapagos | Source

Sources

Did you find this information interesting? Have you ever seen a blue-footed booby?

If this information has spurred your interest in learning more about the Blue-footed Boobies, you can read much more here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue-footed_booby

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/blue-footed-booby/

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Blue-footed_Booby/id

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31 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Kristen,

Birds of all types are interesting. The feet on these Blue footed boobies certainly makes them stand out from other types of birds! Glad you liked reading this.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Shyron,

Love your poem about the Blue Footed Boobies! So sardines are not your favorite type of food! Ha!


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 4 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Peggy, this was an interesting hub. It's so amazing to know about those beautiful birds. Those birds are interesting creatures. Nice photo! Thanks for sharing.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 4 months ago

What is it about the Blue Footed Boobies

Does your sweetie have blue feet?

I think that is really neat

Where the female has a fetish about blue footed boobies

Walking a beat

And strutting their stuff with the bluest of feet

I have pretty little feet

But they are not blue

And I don’t like sardines

Or else I would do

What the Blue Footed Boobies do..


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Robert,

The bright colors attract the females so those with the brightest blue feet get more attention and are the ones most likely passing on their genes.


Robert Sacchi profile image

Robert Sacchi 6 months ago

It is interesting how with the Blue-footed Booby the brighter feet is the mating advantage and older males are not favored.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Susie,

So glad you liked this. It is quite the coincidence that you recently saw a photo of blue footed boobies on Facebook and now read this. Thanks for the share.


colorfulone profile image

colorfulone 7 months ago from Minnesota

I just learned about these Blue Footed birds weeks ago on Facebook. Someone posted a photo and I shared it, and a commenter on my post informed one of what these fun little creature are called. So! I watched some videos on YouTube about them and thoroughly enjoy the time spent. And, here you are Peggy, giving of your time to future my education, (I know it wasn't just for me;). Love your hub, and will be sharing.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi norlawrence,

Sometimes the corrections are minor...like a misspelled word. I am guessing that they are probably tough with first time writers until they see and evaluate a few more hubs. They published everything without evaluation when I first started writing on this site. It attracted some pretty bad articles as you might imagine. I think that they are simply trying to make this site better which benefits all of us. So hang in there and good luck to you.


norlawrence profile image

norlawrence 7 months ago from California

I submitted article to other site. I just submitted 2 articles to Hub Pages so far and this morning they are not published. You commented on the article about "Old Miniature Dog Breeds" which I appreciated and it is now in need of corrections. I do not know what is going on. My article about Heartworm Disease has been out there for a few days and I keep having to correct it. I am beginning to think my articles are not good enough for Hub Pages and I am wasting my time and theirs.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi norlawrence,

Amazing that they did not link your article to mine. Perhaps you wrote it on a different platform? The blue footed boobies are certainly interesting.


norlawrence profile image

norlawrence 7 months ago from California

Great article. Beautiful pictures. I once wrote an article about the blue footed boobie but I did not have all the beautiful pictures. Thanks for the great article.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Jackie,

It is pretty easy for the females to know who would be the best breeder because of the color of the feet. Wonder if they also have a good personality. Haha!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Genna,

I fully understand getting busy with other things. Sometimes days go by before I get a chance to see what is happening on HubPages. Glad you enjoyed this article. Thanks for the comment.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 7 months ago from The Beautiful South

I have never seen these that I recall! So adorable and what a great fact that these females can judge prettiest!

Sharing.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi aviannovice,

Sorry for the late response. Yes I had heard that there is also a red footed boobie. I would imagine that they have similar habits to the blue footed boobies. I have been very busy designing my own website plus helping a friend whose home got flooded. Washing her clothes for her...etc. Time passes quickly! Have some catch up work to do with the HP comments.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 7 months ago from Stillwater, OK

Check to see if my comment got put into spam. I know that I made one, and I think I asked if you'd ever heard of the Red-footed Booby. This article gave me more information on a very unusual bird.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Au fait,

Hope you made out OK with the storms in your area. The flooding in Houston is so bad for so many people. We lucked out but are washing clothes for a friend who had over 3 feet of water in her home. Everything ruined including her car. Thanks for sharing this article about the blue footed boobies.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 7 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

Hi Peggy. I've been away from HP for a bit due to work. Blue-footed Boobies...what a great moniker for these darling birds. From their courtship to the caring for their young, these little critters are adorable. Thanks so much for sharing, and for helping us to learn more about the Boobies. The photos are beautiful!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi ChitrangadaSharan,

So glad to know that you enjoyed this. It appears that many of us (from reading the comments) would enjoy seeing these birds in person. :)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Linda,

I agree that it would be fun to see the blue-footed boobies in person someday. Just learning about them was fun! :)


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 7 months ago from Stillwater, OK

One day, I hope to see one of these unusual birds. Did you know that there is also a Red-footed Booby?


Au fait profile image

Au fait 7 months ago from North Texas

Very interesting. Enjoyed your video regarding infidelity. :) A shame the chick from the second egg probably doesn't make it most of the time. I had seen these birds before but never learned so much about them as from this article. Sharing this very informative article with my followers and pinning to Awesome HubPages.

Hope you are well. We are to have severe storms tomorrow afternoon and our temps are now in the 80s. Take care . . .


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Frank,

Very kind words! So nice to know you enjoy my hubs. Thanks for the share.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi FlourishAnyway,

Nice analogy of Elvis and his blue swede shoes. Ha! As to the chicks hatching at different times and the first one getting the prime time and best chance of survival...amazing how nature works. It does at times seem brutal.


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 7 months ago from New Delhi, India

These are some very interesting facts about these wide ranging Sea birds and what makes their colourful webbed foot so special. I have not seen these beautiful creatures but would love to.

Nicely presented with lovely pictures. Enjoyed the video as well. Thanks for sharing!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 7 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thanks for sharing this interesting and informative hub, Peggy. I love the photos. Those blue feet certainly stand out! I'd love to see a blue-footed booby in real life.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Bill,

We once saw a film by a person who had traveled to the Galapagos Islands and it was fascinating. Sometimes the water can be quite choppy when boarding or getting off of those smaller boats. The animals on those islands have no fear of humans since they have limited contact. It would be amazing to see it in person.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 7 months ago from Shelton

Peggy W I still don't know why I look forward to your hubs.. when I see an email float my way.. Fun.. no dramatics.. educational and entertaining.. you are a great hubber.. shared..:) Frank


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 7 months ago from USA

What a great title! It really drew me in, then the hub delivered. Those boobies (snicker) have beautiful feet and know how to use them. I thought of Elvis and his blue suede shoes. Shame on them for their murderous habits though.


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 7 months ago from Massachusetts

I have always been fascinated by the Blue-footed Booby and their colorful webbed feet. Would love to someday travel to the Galápagos Islands to see them first hand. Great hub, very interesting and educational.

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