Guardian of the Booby Trail

    Newer Older

    A blue-footed booby stands between me and continuing along the trail on North Seymour Island. Yes I am THAT CLOSE to the bird.

    Thanks to John Bailey for loaning me his Sigma 10-20mm lens, which helped to make this adorable bird look like a menacing giant.

    This is Flickr's most interesting photo tagged "North Seymour Island" (and Lindblad Expeditions), and probably my favorite blue footed booby photo.

    Blue Footed Booby
    The natural breeding habitat of the Blue-footed Booby (Sula nebouxii) is tropical and subtropical islands off the Pacific Ocean, most famously, the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. The name “booby” comes from the Spanish term bobo, which means "Stupid" or "Fool"/"Clown". This is because the Blue-footed Booby's behavior on land, including whistling and dancing as part of its mating rituals, appears foolish and clown-like.

    The Blue-footed Booby is on average 81 cm (32”) long and weighs 1.5 kilograms (3.3 lb), with the females slightly larger than the males. It has long pointed wings and a wedge shaped tail. They have strong, thick necks. The booby's eyes are placed on either side of their bill and oriented towards the front. The Blue-footed Booby has permanently closed nostrils specialized for diving.

    The famous feet of the Blue Footed Booby range from a pale turquoise to a deep aquamarine. Males and younger birds have lighter feet than females do. Strictly a marine bird, their only need for land is to breed, which they do along rocky coasts. The courtship of the Blue-footed Booby consists of the male flaunting his blue feet and dancing to impress the female. During the dance, the male will make a whistling sound, spread his wings and stamp his feet on the ground. When mating, the female parades and the male points his head and tail high to the sky and his wings are back to show off to the female. Males do a dance to attract the females. The dance includes the males lifting their blue feet high and throwing their heads up.

    They are opportunistic in their breeding. The female Blue-footed Booby lays two or three eggs. Both male and female take turns incubating the eggs, while the non-sitting bird keeps a watch. Since the Blue-footed Booby does not have a brooding patch (a patch of bare skin on the underbelly) it uses its feet to keep the eggs warm. The chicks cannot control their body temperature up until about one month old. They must be fed frequently, so the adults constantly hunt for fish. The chicks feed off the regurgitated fish in the adult's mouth. If the parent Blue-footed Booby does not have enough food for all of the chicks, it will only feed the biggest chick, ensuring that at least one will survive. Boobies may use and defend two or three nesting sites until they develop a preference a few weeks before the eggs are laid. Usually 2 to 3 eggs are laid and 1 to 2 chicks are hatched. The incubation period is 41–45 days.

    The male and female share quite a bit of their responsibilities. The male will provide food for the young in the first part of their life because of his specialized diving and the female will take over when the demand is higher. The Blue-footed Booby's diet consists entirely of fish. Blue-footed Boobies are specialized fish eaters feeding on school fish like sardines, anchovies, mackerel, and flying fish. They also feed on squid and offal. It dives into the ocean, sometimes from a great height, and swims underwater in pursuit of its prey. They travel in parties of 12 or so to areas of water with large schools of small fish. When the lead bird sees a fish shoal in the water, it will signal the rest of the group and they will all dive together to catch the fish. When they spot a school they will all dive in unison. They will point their bodies down like a torpedo and dive into the water. Plunge diving can be done from heights of 33-100ft and even up to 330 ft (100 m). These birds hit the water around 60 mph (97 km/h) and can go to depths of 82 ft (25 m) below the water surface. The prey is usually eaten while the bird is still under water. Males and females fish differently which could contribute to the reasons that blue foots, unlike other boobies raise more than one young. The male is smaller and the tail is larger for its body which enables the male to fish in shallow areas instead of just deep waters. The tail can flatten out easier enabling him to change direction in the shallow water. The female is larger and can carry more food. The food is then regurgitated to the young. The males feed the young for the first part of the incubation period. This is done because the males can bring back food quicker than the female. When the demand for more food takes over the female provides the food to the young.

    Tennessee Wanderer, Jessica Kirste, and 29 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 20 more comments

    1. flickrized 61 months ago | reply

      brilliant, what a capture

    2. peachesandolivia (2 years and counting!) 59 months ago | reply

      Made me laugh out loud! What a great capture!

    3. krugerlive 58 months ago | reply

      just stumbled across this photo again randomly. I love this one and it's amazing. Perfect!

    4. bkwdayton - on hiatus 58 months ago | reply

      Congratulations! Your photo is a

      Theme Contest BRONZE Medalist

      BRONZE Medalist Round 6 - SUMMER SERIES: ANIMALS Perpetual Contest - 2009
      Color Photo Award - PREMIER.

    5. bkwdayton - on hiatus 58 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Color Photo Award - BRONZE (qualified photos only - see Rules), and we'd love to have this added to the group!

      CPA - BRONZE Pass
      Your fantastic color picture is an Admin or Moderator choice for a Color Photo Award - BRONZE trophy. You may post your photo to Color Photo Award - BRONZE right away. You do not need to collect trophies from Color Photo Award - PREMIER.

      Congratulations! Your photo is a BRONZE Color Photo Award winner.
      Color Photo Award - BRONZE trophy
      Please submit your photo to Color Photo Award - BRONZE
      If Flickr tells you your photo is in too many groups, contact a Color Photo Award - BRONZE Admin or Moderator.

    6. i need my blankie 58 months ago | reply

      Great capture!

      Your photo deserves another BRONZE Color Photo Award trophy
      Color Photo Award - BRONZE trophy
      Color Photo Award - BRONZE

    7. Reiffhaus (Steppin It Up!!) 58 months ago | reply

      This is too cool11 Booby...the name fits perfectly!!

      Your photo deserves another BRONZE Color Photo Award trophy
      Color Photo Award - BRONZE trophy
      Color Photo Award - BRONZE (trophied only)

    8. a walk on the wild side nature photography 57 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Color Photo Award - SILVER (qualified photos only - see Rules), and we'd love to have this added to the group!

      --
      Seen in a discussion of Color Photo Award - BRONZE (qualified photos only - see Rules). (?)Congratulations! Your photo is a SILVER Color Photo Award winner.
      Color Photo Award - SILVER trophy
      Please submit your photo to Color Photo Award - SILVER (trophied only)
      We've already removed the photo from Color Photo Award - BRONZE for you.

    9. vivb01 57 months ago | reply

      Wow this shot impress me !
      Your photo deserves another SILVER Color Photo Award trophy
      Color Photo Award - SILVER trophy
      Color Photo Award - SILVER

    10. Photograferry 57 months ago | reply

      Your photo deserves another SILVER Color Photo Award trophy
      Color Photo Award - SILVER trophy
      Color Photo Award - SILVER

    11. fitzesqmaya 57 months ago | reply

      Coming to gitcha!
      Your photo deserves another SILVER Color Photo Award trophy
      Color Photo Award - SILVER trophy
      Color Photo Award - SILVER (trophied only)

    12. jimmyedmonds 57 months ago | reply

      Your photo deserves another SILVER Color Photo Award trophy
      Color Photo Award - SILVER trophy
      Color Photo Award - SILVER

    13. bkwdayton - on hiatus 57 months ago | reply

      Congratulations! Your photo is a GOLD Color Photo Award winner.
      Color Photo Award - GOLD trophy
      Please submit your photo to Color Photo Award - GOLD
      If Flickr tells you your photo is in too many groups, contact a Color Photo Award - GOLD Admin or Moderator.

    14. bkwdayton - on hiatus 56 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Color Photo Award - CHAMPIONS, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

      Post your Medal-winning photo to Color Photo Award - CHAMPIONS

      CHAMPION
      Color Photo Award - CHAMPIONS

      The group that helps you check your photo's eligibility for contests at Color Photo Award - PREMIER

    15. Douglas J Brown 52 months ago | reply

      Incredible & beautiful creatures. Great shot!

    16. Gajni2 52 months ago | reply

      (Just checking the thread: Any good Nature Photographers? ..thread on ABigFav.)

      Wow!!

      :)

    17. FilmstripMemories 48 months ago | reply

      beautiful picture

    18. JuttaMK 45 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called BORN TO BE WILD, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

      great angle...love it!

    keyboard shortcuts: previous photo next photo L view in light box F favorite < scroll film strip left > scroll film strip right ? show all shortcuts