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Abbott's Booby - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Swissboy
Christmas Island, Australia, December 2007
Papasula abbotti

Sula abbotti


79 cm (31 in)

  • White body
  • Black flank patch behind the wings
  • Upperside of wings and tail are black
  • Underside of wing is white. Narrow black rear edge and black wing tips
  • Large black eye-ring
  • Black tip on bill
  • Flight silhouette is characterized by a very slim long body combined with very slim long wings that only taper off at the end.
Photo by Swissboy
Christmas Island, Australia, December 2007

Female has pink bill; Male has light blue-gray bill.
Immature similar to male.

Similar Species

Masked Booby, Red-footed Booby, Australian Gannet, Cape Gannet, and Northern Gannet all have some white on the upperside of the wing in plumages where the head is mostly white. Peruvian Booby and white-headed forms of Brown Booby should not overlap in range with Abbott's Booby.


They breed on Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean.


This is a monotypic species[1].

It is one of ten species belonging to the family Sulidae, gannets and boobies. Abbott's Booby is unique amongst the sulids and was recently placed in its own genus (Olson & Warheit 1988, Christidis & Boles 1994). It has some very ancient characters and may have diverged from other sulids prior to the divergence of gannets (Morus) and boobies (Sula). It is unique in its breeding biology and behaviour (Nelson 1971), and in its osteology (Olson & Warheit 1988)(A Dunn and FAR Hill, Environment Australia, September 1997)

Photo by Swissboy
Christmas Island, Australia, December 2007


Near Christmas Island during breeding, seemingly dispersing to nearby water reaching Java.



Nesting is high in trees in the rainforest.


Abbott's Booby is a strong flier, with easy glides and occasional wingbeats.


Food includes flying fishes and squid.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

Recommended Citation

External Links

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