Living Bird Magazine
Brown BoobySula leucogaster
- ORDER: Suliformes
- FAMILY: Sulidae
Found in tropical oceans around the world, the Brown Booby is a dashing seabird—both in plumage, a natty brown-and-white (with bright yellow feet) and in flight style, which involves swift aerial maneuvers and deft dives. Brown Boobies do not nest on the United States mainland but often visit waters off Florida or California. They occasionally stray as far north as Canada, and sometimes well inland. Like most seabirds that nest on islands, Brown Boobies are very vulnerable to introduced predators such as rats, mice, and cats.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Brown Boobies are common in the Caribbean but scarce in the United States away from Puerto Rico. That means almost any Brown Booby you’ll see in the U.S. or Canada will be a rarity. Look for them sitting on channel markers, buoys, or rock jetties on their own or with other seabirds. Their very long, narrow wings and steep dives make them distinctive in the air, although they can resemble the much larger Northern Gannet.
- Piquero Pardo (Spanish)
- Fou brun (French)
- Cool Facts
- Like many seabirds, Brown Boobies have a serrated, comblike toenail on their middle toe called a “preen-claw.” Boobies use it, along with their bill, to spread waterproofing oil from a gland in the tail throughout the feathers when preening.
- The Brown Booby is the only ground-nesting booby that regularly builds a substantial nest.
- Like all boobies and pelicans, the Brown Booby's feet are "totipalmate," having webbing connecting all four toes.
- Male and female Brown Boobies generally look alike in plumage color, except along the Pacific coast of the Americas, where the males have light gray to white heads.
- The oldest recorded Brown Booby was a 26-year-old male.