Year of 2017

A blue-footed booby dives off San Cristóbal Island, Ecuador

Few creatures on Earth can claim to have conquered land, air, and sea. We might giggle at the blue-footed booby’s name, but its hunting skills are no laughing matter. A booby may leave its perch, anywhere from Mexico to Ecuador, to glide over the waters of the Pacific, until it spots a school of sardines, anchovies, or other small fish. In a flash, the blue-footed booby dives from the air, folds in its wings, and shoots under the ocean’s surface like a missile. Once submerged, the booby can swim for a short period of time—just long enough to grab a fish and take flight again.

The blue-footed booby is a marine bird native to subtropical and tropical regions of the Pacific Ocean. It is one of six species of the genus Sula – known as boobies. It is easily recognizable by its distinctive bright blue feet, which is a sexually selected trait. Males display their feet in an elaborate mating ritual by lifting them up and down while strutting before the female. The female is slightly larger than the male and can measure up to 90 cm long with a wingspan of up to 1.5 m.
Scientific name: Sula nebouxii
Biological classification: Species
Belongs to: Booby