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Peruvian Booby - BirdForum Opus

Photo by juninho
Photo © by Islas Ballestas, Paracas, Peru, October 2005
Sula variegata


Length 71-76 cm (28-30in.) A typical booby very similar to others of the same genus.
Adult has white underparts, brown back with lateral whitish streaks, white tail coverts and upper tail. Pale yellow iris. Facial skin blue-gray to blackish.
Juvenile has more scaly brown plumage on head and neck.

Similar Species

Photo © by Stanley Jones
Playa El Paraíso, Huaura Province, Peru, August 2017

Separation from the Blue-footed Booby can be difficult, but the Blue-footed has a white rump patch visible from above in flight, its head is not so pure white as the Peruvian species, and as expected, its feet are much more blue. They share the seas off Peru.


Extremely common and numerous (although declining) off the coast of Peru and (rarely, mostly during warm-water events such as El Niño) southern Ecuador


This is a monotypic species[1].


Coastal waters; never go far to sea. This species is common along the Peruvian coast where it nests on "guano" islands with Guanay Cormorant, Red-legged Cormorant, Peruvian Pelican, Inca Tern, Humboldt Penguin, and several species of gulls.


They travel in small groups.


They feed by plunge-diving for schooling fish, which until the collapse of the stocks, was mostly anchovies.


Nests in large colonies on open ground. The clutch contains 1-4 pale blue eggs; incubation lasts 4-5 weeks and is done by both adults.


Call: silent at sea, but noisy in nesting colonies with a variety of whistles and brays.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. BF Member observations
  3. Beauty of Birds

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