Sea Creature Feature of The Week: Blue-Footed Booby

Though not exactly a sea creature, this sea bird lives and thrives off marine sources and habitats. Named after their bright blue feet, females select their mates based upon who has the prettiest and brightest feet. Important variables for mates such as age, fitness, and genetic health are coordinated with the intensity of color. Not only are blue-footed boobies’ blue feet important for mating, but the females keep their eggs warm by enclosing them underneath their feet. When mating, males attract the attention of females by offering them rocks or other small objects, then dancing, expanding their wings, and showing off their feet.

Blue-footed boobies are found on rocky shores near tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of California, Mexico, the Galapagos Islands, and the coast of Peru. However, half of the population of boobies in the world can be found in the Galapagos. These species are professional divers that swoop into the sea at high speeds chasing their prey of anchovies, sardines, mackerel, flying fish, and more. Ocean Conservancy explains these seabirds hit the water at a speed of 60 miles per hour and can plunge to undersea depths nearly equal to their sky-soaring heights.

The IUCN Red List assessed the Blue-footed Booby or Sula nebouxii in 2020 and listed the species as Least Concern. Though there isn’t a major concern of the species going extinct, the blue-footed boobies population trend is decreasing. Overfishing of their prey may reduce population sizes in the future.