Unique animals of the Galapagos Islands: Blue-footed boobies

Blue-footed boobies

The funny name almost matches these creatures’ funny look. Blue-footed boobies are most easily recognized by their signature feet. The birds’ mating ritual is also an entertaining affair, as males lift their feet up and down in a strutting display for the females.


You can spot them on Galapagos excursions in the National park accompanied by Galapagos islands travel guide. Ask us for Galapagos islands accommodation during your trip.


The blue-footed booby is 80 cm long. Females are usually larger and heavier than males. The weight of the birds is approximately 1.5 kg. The legs of the birds have bright blue swimming membranes – a hallmark of this species. The tail and wings are usually long and pointed. The plumage is brown-white, the beak is gray-green. Females around the pupils have a dark pigment ring, which visually enlarges their eyes. In nesting places, their behavior towards people is bold.

Spread & Lifestyle

Blue-footed booby nests mainly on the Galapagos Islands, as well as on the arid islands of the Gulf of California, on the west coast of Mexico, on islands near Ecuador and northern Peru. Of the 40,000 pairs of these birds, approximately half live in the Galapagos Islands, where blue-footed boobies are protected by law.


The blue legs of the males play a significant role during the current period. Females prefer a male with blue-colored legs and neglect a male whose legs look gray-blue.


Birds nest in colonies on the islands of Central and South America. Their nesting sites are located at a relatively far distance from each other. The nesting period lasts all year, with the female laying at every 8 months. Usually, the female lays 2 or 3 white eggs for one week, and both parents hatch her 40 days. Chicks leave the nest after 102 days. At 3-4 years they become sexually mature.

Population decline

Concerns of a decline in the booby population of the Galápagos Islands prompted a research project in its cause. The project, completed in April 2014, confirmed the population decline. The blue-footed booby population appears to be having trouble breeding, thus is slowly declining. The decline is feared to be long-term, but annual data collection is needed for a firm conclusion that this is not a normal fluctuation.


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