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Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Blue-footed Booby

Sula nebouxii ORDER: SULIFORMES FAMILY: SULIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A large seabird of the warm coastal waters of the eastern Pacific, the Blue-footed Booby is a rare visitor to the West Coast of the United States. It has even occurred a few times at inland lakes in California, Texas, and Arizona.

Be a Better Birder Tutorial 4
Yard Map Birds Eye View

Appearance

Gull-like
Gull-like
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Large waterbird.
  • Mostly white with dark wings and mottled back.
  • Tail dusky.
  • Whitish head, with thin dark streaking.
  • Long, pointed, grayish bill.
  • Long pointed tail.
  • Long pointed wings.
  • Dark face.
  • Feet bright blue.

Immature Description

Juvenile dark all over with white belly. Pale at base of underside of wings.

Range Map Help

Blue-footed Booby Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

  • Adults

    Blue-footed Booby

    Adults
  • Adult

    Blue-footed Booby

    Adult
  • Juvenile

    Blue-footed Booby

    Juvenile
    • © Hawkperson, Anacapa Island, California, October 2013
  • Adults

    Blue-footed Booby

    Adults
    • © Kat, Lake Skinner, California, January 2014
  • Adult

    Blue-footed Booby

    Adult
    • © Dgrgic, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, October 2014

Similar Species

  • Adult Northern Gannet has black only in wingtips and is much larger. Immature gannet can be very similarly marked. Gannet has feathering in front of eyes, boobies do not.
  • Juvenile Brown Booby resembles juvenile Blue-footed Booby, but has darker chest and neck, and shows sharp cutoff between chest and belly.
  • Red-footed Booby has white back, a cleanly white or yellowish head, and a white tail. Juvenile has dark belly and is all dark under the wings.
  • Masked Booby has a white back, a clean white head, and a yellow bill. Juvenile has clean white underside.