Masked Booby Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    A heavyset seabird with long, pointed wings, stout neck and head, and fairly long, pointed tail. It has short legs with large, webbed feet. The bill is long, heavy, and daggerlike.

    Relative Size

    Larger than a Great Black-backed Gull, smaller than a Northern Gannet.

    Relative Sizegoose or largergoose-sized or larger
    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 29.1-33.9 in (74-86 cm)
      • Weight: 45.9-82.9 oz (1300-2350 g)
      • Wingspan: 63.0 in (160 cm)

Regional Differences

Masked Booby has about five subspecies that vary in size and in the colors of bills, eyes, legs, and feet. In eastern North America (Caribbean and Atlantic waters), the subspecies dactylatra has straw-colored bill and usually olive or orangish legs and feet, whereas in California the widespread Pacific subspecies personata has a yellow bill and bluish-gray or olive legs and feet. Other subspecies include melanops of the western Indian Ocean, bedouti of the eastern Indian Ocean, and tasmani of the Tasman Sea.

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