Habitat and Habits
The mating behaviour displayed by the blue-footed booby is extremely impressive and is probably one of the highlights of your Galapagos trip. The female boobies are extremely attracted to the strong blue feet of the males, which is a sign of sexual maturity.
An attempt to attract a female booby is as described:
A male booby strides up and down the nesting site proudly while displaying its blue feet. He occasionally lifts it highly or elegantly to show off to the females. A further attempt is made with him presenting the females with nesting materials and flapping its wings to show others his stature.
When the female is successfully courted, she will raise her beak and wings upwards to meet the male booby while he lets out a loud piercing celebratory whistle.
The blue-footed boobies are monogamous and faithful birds. Once together, they breed all year round in the Galapagos Islands. The female lays 2 to 3 eggs every eight months, 2 to 3 weeks after mating. The loving boobies then take turns to incubate the eggs for around 40 days. After hatching, the young birds can leave the nest after 100 days and reach sexual maturity after 3 to 4 years. Blue-footed boobies only feed on fishes and can dive up to 25 meters.
Currently, the Galapagos Islands is home to the largest blue-footed booby population with around 20,000 boobies. Those in the Galapagos Archipelago are all protected by the national park, allowing their nesting site to flourish and grow.
Travel advice for visitors:
Blue-footed boobies can almost be found on every island in the Galapagos archipelago and you can visit them on a cruise or through island hopping. However, the islands with the most blue-footed boobies are North Seymour and Santa Cruz islands. To plan your trip better, check out our Galapagos Islands monthly animal activities poster.