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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Blue Footed Booby, Galapagos Islands

The Blue-footed Booby (Sula nebouxii) is a bird in the Sulidae family which comprises ten species of long-winged seabirds. The blue-footed booby is medium to large in size. It is on average 81 cm long and weighs 1.5 kg (3 lb), with the females slightly larger than the males. It has long pointed wings and a wedge shaped tail. They have strong thick necks. The boobies eyes are placed on either side of their bill and oriented towards the front. They have excellent binocular vision. The blue-footed boobies eyes are yellow. The male has more yellow on its iris than does the female. The blue-footed booby has permanently closed nostrils specialized for diving. They breath through the corners of their mouths. Their feet range from a pale turquoise to a deep aquamarine. Males and younger birds have lighter feet than females do.

The name “booby” comes from the Spanish term bobo, which means "stupid fellow". This is because the Blue-footed Booby is clumsy on the land, and like other seabirds can be very tame. It has been known to land on boats, where it was once captured and eaten.

The natural breeding habitat of the Blue-footed Booby is tropical and subtropical islands off the Pacific coast of South America from Peru to Mexico including, most famously, the Galápagos Islands.

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