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What is it about Blue-Footed Boobies?

Updated on September 6, 2017
Peggy W profile image

Education does not end when leaving school. It is an ongoing process which certainly makes life more interesting. Hope you enjoy this!

Detail of the legs of a blue-footed booby (Sula nebouxii)
Detail of the legs of a blue-footed booby (Sula nebouxii) | 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. 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 sadly for these birds 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!

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

Courtship of These Birds

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 colored shoes!

They are 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.

Where many of these blue-footed boobies live.

A
Galapagos Islands:
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

get directions

Favorite Fish is the Sardine

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 acquired fresh.

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

The ones we tasted were lightly cooked and dressed with a light lemony vinaigrette and fresh herbs. They were delicious! I am sure that there are many different cooking methods that would be equally tasty.

Lightly grilling fresh sardines would be wonderful.

BBQ sardines
BBQ sardines | Source

Our friendly birds need no special cooking methods to make them happy. Just scooping sardines up fresh right out of the ocean is all they require.

Sardines are often known to swim in schools so when locating them our colorful footed birds are undoubtedly sated in a short amount of time.

Egg Laying Habits of These Birds

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.

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

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 long term. The others do not fare as well.

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

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.

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

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Were you familiar with the birds called Blue-Footed Boobies?

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© 2016 Peggy Woods

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    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      5 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello rdsparrowriter,

      I thought that this was an interesting bird as well. Thanks for your comment.

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      rdsparrowriter 

      5 months ago

      Hi this is very interesting :) It's my first time knowing about a bird with blue feet. Thanks for sharing :) Beautiful bird :)

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      11 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Rajan,

      I found this to be interesting also. These birds are certainly not color blind!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      11 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Extremely interesting information about the blue footed booby. I wasn't aware of the existence of this bird and very interesting to learn that the stronger color of the feet raises the chances of getting selected as a mate.

      Lovely bird for sure.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      18 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Patricia,

      We have broken records for high temps during this Christmas season. Many in the 80's were recorded. No frozen pipes here. In fact some time back we did cover some of our tender plants for a few days but we never got down to freezing. It is turning a bit cooler now and it is welcomed. Nice to be able to wear sweaters this time of year. :)

      Sending good wishes and prayers your way!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      18 months ago from sunny Florida

      Hi Peggy...I have to chuckle each time I see the title...and those feet...are they glorious!!!

      Just wanted to stop and visit for a second. We are having spring weather right now...my sister in Austin said they have had some unusually cold weather there recently...she even had some outside pipes burst ....

      Take care of you and yours. Angels are on the way to you ps

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      23 months ago from Houston, Texas

      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 imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      23 months ago from Houston, Texas

      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 

      23 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 

      23 months ago from Texas

      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 imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      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 

      2 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      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

      Susie Lehto 

      2 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      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

      Norma Lawrence 

      2 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      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

      Norma Lawrence 

      2 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      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 imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      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 

      2 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      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

      Deb Hirt 

      2 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      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 

      2 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      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 imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      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

      Deb Hirt 

      2 years 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

      C E Clark 

      2 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Frank,

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

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      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

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      2 years 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

      Linda Crampton 

      2 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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

      Bill De Giulio 

      2 years 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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