RED-FOOTED BOOBY


Sula sula


Description:

The Red-footed is the smallest of all boobies. The Red-footed booby feeds by either diving vertically into the water, where it may persue its prey for up to 98 feet (~30 meters), or by catching flying fish in mid-air. They primarily feed on flying fish and squid. This bird will feed up to 90 miles (150 km) from shore. Red-footed booby's will feed both during the day and at night. Night fishing prevents other birds, such as the Great Frigatebird, from stealing their catch.


Appearance:

General: Sexes similar. 26 to 30 inches in length.

Adult White Morph: White head, body, and tail. Large, straight, pale-blue bill with pink facial skin at base. White wings with dark primaries and outer secondaries. Dark border on underwings. Red legs and feet.

Adult Dark Morph: Brown head and body. Dark wings. White rump, undertail coverts, and tail. Large, straight, pale-blue bill with pink facial skin at base. Red legs and feet.

Juvenile: Dark brown or blackish-gray plumage. Dark bill. Dark grayish legs and feet. Matures over 2-3 years.

Immature: Mottled grayish-brown head. White back. Patchy underwings without any definite pattern. Red or brownish legs and feet.


Habitat:

Pelagic and subtropical islands.


Nesting:

1 chalky white egg. The egg has a 42-45 day incubation period. Fledging occurs in 95-101 days. Both parents incubate the eggs, using their feet, in shifts of about 24 hours. The nest is made from twigs and sticks and built on top of a shrub. May build nest in same shrubs as Great Frigatebirds. Nests in colonies. Red-footed Booby's are monogamous and begin breeding after they are four years old.


Observed Locations:

  • Kilauea Point Lighthouse, Kauaui, Hawaii





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Kilauea NWR

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Kilauea NWR

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Kilauea NWR

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Kilauea NWR

 

 


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