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There are three species of Booby resident in the Galapagos: The Blue Footed Booby, Nazca or Masked Booby and Red Footed Booby. None are endemic to the islands. We saw all but the Red Footed Booby. Boobies are strong fliers, feeding many miles offshore, preying on fish which they catch with spectacular plunge dives. Boobies have forward pointing, stereoscopic vision which allows them to accurately pinpoint their prey. Their eyes give them a comical appearance ( the word booby comes from the Spanish word "bobo" meaning clown or stupid.)

The Blue Footed Booby is one of the most sought after birds to see because it so entertaining. In trying to attract a female, the male actually dances. The female joins in the booby two step, which consists in dramatic foot raising and sky pointing with their beaks. A few presents of stones or twigs are offered in the ceremony. They nest close to shore on flat ground.

Blue-Footed Booby Courting Blue-footed Boobies Dance of Blue-footed Boobies
Blue-Footed Booby
Courting Pair
Mating Dance (Note Sky-Pointing)
Blue footed Booby Blue-footed booby and Flightless Commorant Blue-footed Booby
Blue-Footed Booby
Blue-Footed Booby and Flightless Cormorant
Blue-Footed Booby

The Nazca or Masked Booby is the largest booby in the islands. Pairs nest on the ground, usually near a cliff edge. Although they lay two eggs, only one chick is raised. As soon as the second chick hatches, it's stronger sibling, who was born a few days earlier, pushes the chick out of the guano ring that represents the nest. The parents ignore the battle and leave the chick to its fate - usually attacks by mockingbirds.

Nazca Booby Mating Dance Mask of Nazca Booby
Masked Booby Mating Dance
"Mask" of Nazca Booby
Nesting Pair of Masked Boobies Nest of Masked Booby
Nesting Pair of Masked Boobies
Preparing a Nest








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