The blue-footed booby is probably the most whimsical and entertaining animal you’ll see in the Galapagos Islands.
So what is the deal with their feet? Why are they called “boobies”? We don’t have ALL the booby answers you may seek, but here are a bunch of interesting animal facts about the blue-footed booby in the Galapagos!
1 – Their Feet Turn Blue when they are Mature
Blue-footed boobies aren’t born with blue feet! And unlike marine iguanas, which may get their color from what they eat – the blue-footed booby bird does not eat blue food to get their foot color…although diet does play a partial role!
Once a blue-footed booby is old enough, their feet with begin to turn blue. It is one easy way to tell the difference between mature and immature boobies. The same goes for the red-footed boobies too!
2 – Female Blue-Footed Boobies are Bigger
Contrary to what many people assume, it is the female blue-footed boobies who are slightly larger than their male counterparts. Surprising, huh?
3 – Blue-Footed Booby Males will “Whistle” to Females when they want to attract a mate
Males will elongate their necks and let out a long whistle call, as they display their wings to females circling above in the sky. From their land-based nesting spot males hope to lure in females with their visual display and call!
4 – Female Booby Birds have Bluer Feet
Not all booby feet are created equal. Once mature, females tend to have deeper blue hued feet than males! While not always easy to notice, if you see a group of boobies together, try to compare their feet and see which ones have bluer feet!
5 – Once a pair of Blue-Footed Boobies is Together, they do a Courtship Dance
Perhaps one of their most interesting characteristics is how blue-footed booby couples will do a dance, in unison, by walking side-by-side and lifting their feet in unison. It’s an exaggerated looking walk, and quite comical if you’re lucky enough to see it!
6 – Male and Female Pupils are Different Sizes
For blue-footed boobies the females have larger pupils, sometimes looking quite large, while males may have more pinpoint type pupils. The difference is quite obvious and can be the easiest way to tell whether a booby is a male or female!
7 – If you see a Blue-Footed Booby “laughing” it is Actually Cooling itself
Blue-footed boobies can overheat in the hot Galapagos sun. One way they cool themselves and lower their body temperature is by opening their mouth and vibrating the skin in the neck. It looks like they may be laughing sometimes, but really they are just trying to cool themselves!
8 – About 1/2 of all blue-footed boobies are in the Galapagos Islands!
You can find blue-footed boobies along the coast of Ecuador, Peru, and other Pacific coastal countries all the way up to California in the US! But numbers are quite small compared to the Galapagos.
About 1/2 of all blue-footed booby breeding pairs are found in the Galapagos, making them exceptionally easy to see up close, unlike anywhere else.
There you go – eight blue-footed booby factoids. Do you know any other interesting facts about blue-footed boobies?