- ORDER: Suliformes
- FAMILY: Sulidae
The Red-footed Booby is a graceful, slim-winged seabird named for its vivid coral-red feet which males show off during courtship. Most booby species nest on the ground, but the Red-footed nests in trees, so they don’t compete for nest sites. This habit also provides protection from ground predators, a welcome advantage for this smallest of the six booby species. Like other members of the family Sulidae, Red-footed Boobies pursue fish by diving into the sea, but also chase flying fish like a flycatcher chases flies.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Red-footed Boobies are tropical seabirds, and Hawaii is one of the best places to see them. If you’re on the island of Kauai, try Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, where they are present year-round, cavorting with nesting Brown Boobies and Red-tailed Tropicbirds.
- Piquero Patirrojo (Spanish)
- Fou à pieds rouges (French)
- Cool Facts
- Just as the Arctic has throngs of alcids, gulls, terns, and Northern Fulmars, tropical waters have their own mixed flocks of seabirds, including several booby species, plus shearwaters, petrels, storm-petrels, and tropical terns.
- Red-footed Boobies nest in trees but only in full sun, not in shaded areas. On very hot, sunny days, they stretch their wings partway out, fan their tails, and pant, probably to cool themselves. They also shade young chicks at the nest.
- Like all boobies, the Red-footed Booby never carries its prey in its bill. Instead, it swallows it before flying.
- The Red-footed Booby comes in a confusing array of color morphs, ranging from individuals that are all white except for blackish on the wing, to individuals that are entirely dark brown. Individuals of several morphs breed together in a single colony.
- The oldest recorded Red-footed Booby was at least 22 years, 11 months old.