Galapagos Blue Footed Boobies

blue footed boobies

Blue Footed Boobies (Sula nebouxi) are tropical seabirds and are amongst the most famous birds in the Galapagos Islands.

This is because it is the most commonly seen booby bird in this Archipelago as it nests near the coast in many of the Islands in Galapagos and also feeds close to shore.


The Blue Footed bird is a tropical seabird that lives in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru.

The name booby comes from the Spanish term bobo, which means fool. And maybe the name is because this Galapagos bird is kind of inept on the land, and compared to other seabirds it is very tame.

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The blue footed boobies belong to the family Sulidae. In the Galapagos, there are three species of boobies:

The blue-footed booby (Sula nebouxi), the Nazca Boobies (Sula dactylatra) these booby birds were know before as Masked Boobies and the red footed booby (Sula sula).

The Nazca boobies are the largest and the blue footed boobies are the smallest, but they are all very similar in shape.

Galapagos blue footed birds have longer tails than the other two species, the tail help them to make incredible and fast dives for feeding in the Ocean near the shores.

The male booby has a bit longer tail than the female, but it is still quite difficult to notice the difference at first sight. But you can easily distinguish males from females by the voice since males make a sound like a whistle while females croak.

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Blue Footed Boobies Characteristics

The size of a blue footed booby is an average less than three feet long and its wingspan is about five feet.

They weight between 3 and 4 pounds, with the female being larger than the male. Blue footed birds have long necks and beautiful blue webbed feet.

The feathers on the wings are brown and its head and neck are brown with black stripes. Its chest and undersides are white. Lifespan for this seabird is around 17 years.

The blue footed bird lives on the open sea except when it is breeding. It breeds on ocean Islands like in the Galapagos.

Watching this bird diving in the ocean is quite a view. They can dive into the water from a swimming position instantly, this special skill makes them different from the other boobies species.

When flying they place their wings close to their body, and enter into the water like a bullet without making a splash.

After the initial dive they swim underwater in pursuit of its prey, come out of the water several yards away from the initial dive with its catch. They are also experts in catching fish in midair.

Another interesting characteristic about the Blue footed sea bird is its fanciful mating ritual.

The male booby raises one blue foot in the air, then the other, in front of the female, like in a marching parade.

Then the male and the female boobies turn their heads up pointing their bills to the sky, and start with their mating call voice. The male sound is like a whistle, and the female sounds more like a groaning call.

Blue footed birds are a protected species in the Galapagos Islands, it is estimated that around 40,000 boobies live in these islands alone. Admiring the beauty of Galapagos Animals is truly a unique experience to live.

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Recommended Reading

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)
With 250 photos and tons of great information, this is an essential addition to your pre-Ecuador and -Galapagos reading! There are better guides if you are only interested in the islands, but for a combination trip taking in Ecuador as well, it's hard to beat.

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands
Small enough to fit into your pocket, yet containing comprehensive information and pictures of all the species you will encounter in the islands, this book is a must-have for nature lovers. Let's face it, Galapagos is largely about the wildlife. This book will NOT disappoint, and you'll have a great memento of your time with the seals, penguins and tortoises!

Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World

Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World
Definitely NOT a tourist's guide, but if you're like me, and find the history and geography of the islands irresistible, then this is a title you ought to invest in. Stunningly illustrated, and painstakingly researched, those of you who have been there will be enchanted again -- and those of you who have not will begin planning your trip!

Moon Spotlight Galapagos Islands

Moon Spotlight Galapagos Islands
If you're a seasoned Galapagos regular, then you will probably prefer something weightier. But for first-timers looking for simple, down-to-earth advice on where to go, what to see and the best shopping and eating on the islands, this is the book for you. Small, well-priced, and reliable!

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire
The 10th anniversary edition of this photographer's tour of the Galapagos Islands is a stunning book, worthy of anybody's coffee table. This is a perfect post-trip talking point -- a great way to remember what you've seen, and spread the word amongst your envious friends!

See More About Galapagos

Best Galapagos Island Tours

The Meaning of the Word Galapago

Galapagos Sea Birds

Galapagos Island Pictures

If you have any questions about the Blue Footed Boobies or Galapagos You can post them on the Galapagos FAQ Section or if you'd like to know more about our Galapagos Vacation Packages to explore these Islands, You can Contact us here