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Blue Footed Boobies: the Magnificent Seabirds
Who doesn't love Boobies?
The Blue footed boobies are unique sea birds that belong to the Sulidae family.
These Birds are typically 34 in. long and weigh and weigh about 3 and a half lbs. The body design of the Boobies is designed to dive into the water. They have long bills with closed nostrils, thick necks, and pointed wings which are all essential for diving. The blue footed Boobies also have excellent vision. There eyes are on the sides of their bill and are pointing forwards giving them a solid binocular-like vision, making it easy for them to spot fish in the water from up in the air. The bodies of these birds are typically white, with black and brown feathers, black bills and of course, blue webbed feet.
Where Did Their Name Come From?
Both the male and the female Blue footed Boobies have blue pigmentation in their feet, hence the first half of the name, "Blue Footed". The word "Booby" is derived from a Spanish word "bobo", which means a fool, jester, or clown. They earned this name because like other seabirds, the Blue Footed Boobies are very clumsy when it comes down to walking on dry land.
Where do they live?
The coasts along the Eastern Pacific ocean stretching to the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador, give home to these amazing animals. Because they are seabirds, they don't spend too much time on land. In fact, their only true need for land is mating and breeding which is done along the rocky water coasts.
Male Blue Footed Boobies attract mates by doing a signature dance, which involves waddling, showing off his vibrantly colored blue feet, stomping and spreading his wings. The boobies are opportunistic breeders and have a breeding cycle of 8 to 9 months. The female Boobies will generally lay 2 to 3 eggs from each breeding cycle. Both the males and the females take turns incubating the young eggs with their big blue feet. The incubation period lasts for about 40 days. During this time the nesting area my change a few times to avoid any predators that may like to eat the eggs.
How do they communicate?
During mating the Blue foots will make high pitched whistles and grunts. When they are hunting they have a groan and whistle to signal a school of fish in the water below. Their body language and mating dance can also be considered a form of communication.
Young Blue Footed Boobies
The young birds require significant nutritional care and must be feed frequently. This being said, the adults are constantly hunting to provide for themselves and their young who aren't yet capable of hunting. Like many other young birds, the Blue Foots feed off the regurgitated food in their parents mouths. Because the Boobies take care of more than one chick at a time, if there is a shortage of food the Boobies will feed the largest chick first, insuring that atleast the strongist one will survive.
Hunting and diet
The diet of the Blue Footed Boobies consists mainly of fish, due to the fact that they live along the ocean coast. They specialize in hunting small schools of fish such as Mackerel, Anchovies, and Sardines. Their hunting technique is to climb high into the air and dive into the water in pursuit of the fish. They are known to hunt alone, in pairs or in groups.