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Blue-footed Booby - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Neil
Ecuador, The Galapagos, August, 2009
Sula nebouxii


L. 32-34" (81-86 cm)

  • Long, pointed bill, wings and tail
  • Pale head and neck, streaked brown
  • Dark brown wings
  • White patches on nape and rump
  • Mantle barred with thin, white lines
  • Mostly white tail with dark corners on upperside
Photo © by mikemik
Galapagos, Ecuador, November 2008
  • Underparts white
  • White armpits
  • Two pale bars on underwing
  • Bright blue legs and feet
  • Gray bill

Downy young are snow-white with yellowish feet. The first full feathered plumage (juveline) has a lot of brown but with white at the nape, base of tail, and underside including armpits; at least before leaving the nest it will still have yellowish feet. Immature is darker overall than adult with darker bill and duller bluish grey feet.

Similar Species

Brown Booby lacks white patches on nape and rump; its feet are yellow or greenish yellow.


The pacific coast of Mexico to Peru and Galápagos Islands.


Photo © by bionicsherpa
Espaniola Island, Galapagos, March 2009


There are 2 subspecies[1]:

  • S. n. nebouxii:


Open Sea but also quite often near coast in shallow waters, and may even occur as a visitor in inland waters.



Boobies fly fairly high over the ocean with steady, rapid, even strokes, followed by a short glide.


Feeding: When fishing, Blue-footed Boobies plunge headlong into the water with wings partly folded after a cirkling motion; they sometimes snatch flying-fish out of the air. Often in groups when fishing.


Subspecies nebouxii
Photo © by tehag
Nopoló, Baja California Sur, February 2005

Usually nests in colonies on islands or isolated cliffs where 2 or 3 chalky pale blue or green eggs laid on the ground.


Usually silent; trumpeting and whistling noises on breeding grounds.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

Recommended Citation

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