Merlin

Blue-footed Booby

ID Info
Silhouette SeabirdsSeabirds

Blue-footed Booby

Sula nebouxii
  • ORDER: Suliformes
  • FAMILY: Sulidae
Basic Description

The Blue-footed Booby has captivated the human imagination for centuries with its mating display, in which its vivid baby-blue feet play a key role. The other part of the name—booby—is reportedly taken from the Spanish for “stupid,” (“bobo”) and refers to these birds’ tameness around people. Like its North Atlantic relative the Northern Gannet, Blue-footed Boobies catch fish in spectacular dives from high in the air. Watching large flocks pursue shoaling fish can be breathtaking, with hundreds plunging into the ocean at any moment.

More ID Info
image of range map for Blue-footed BoobyRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

Find This Bird

Blue-footed Boobies nest on islands in the tropical eastern Pacific. Though thousands live in Mexico’s Gulf of California, finding them in the United States or Canada is challenging. Not surprisingly given its proximity to Mexico, coastal Southern California is the best place to look, as well as the Salton Sea (inland), where birds dispersing from the Gulf of California sometimes turn up. Boobies will sit on just about any object near or above the water and often show no fear of people.

Other Names
  • Piquero Camanay (Spanish)
  • Fou à pieds bleus (French)
  • Cool Facts