As you walk along the trails on North Seymour Island in the  Galapagos Islands take care to avoid stepping on booby nests. Yes the place is full of booby traps!. Those darn birds with the blue feet do not know they are nesting on the trail. Or maybe the bird does know, but actually does not care and stays cool.


sulidae blue footed booby
Blue Footed Booby

This is a common experience in the Galapagos, animals do not fear humans and decide to nest or lay wherever they feel most comfortable, regardless if it is the trail or a landing dock.

I must say with confidence that the Blue Footed Booby is Galapagos funniest bird, at least for tourists. Yareah magazine featured in article on the funniest birds in the world, and of course the Booby was on the list with first photo of their article:

Blue footed Booby
Booby scratching

Yet the Sulidae (scientific name) may look funny on land and even clumsy, it is a skillful flyer and diver when it comes to bringing food home to its nest. One of the most amazing wildlife scenes is to watch a flock of Boobies dive into the ocean chasing a school of fish.

Flock of Boobies
Flock of Boobies

Being a skillful flyer and diver is what ensure the survival and striving of Boobies on several Islands of the Galapagos archipelago.

Boobies have a particular mating dance, it is a treat to presence the ritual between boobies. The male bird is all about impressing the female, he has to show off his feet, the more intense blue color is a higher chance to find a mate. Yet it is not only about the looks, the male has to be a charmer and perform the entire dance in order to grab the attention of a female.

The below video shows the full steps of the Booby mating dance, but as you can see, not always successful. Not only does the male have to dance but it must also show it can build a nest:

Talk about being picky… the poor guy did his best, but was still rejected.

It is important to remember that everything in Galapagos is about survival of the fittest and adaptation. In order to increase the possibilities of eggs hatching, Boobies cover them with dirt and camouflage them from predators. The following article at Science news:  share the study about camouflaging eggs by several bird species including our blue footed friends.

Other facts about Boobies and their nesting habits:

  • They make a circle of guano (excrement) surrounding their chicks, this helps them recognize them. If the chick leaves the circle, it may not be allowed to return.
  • In times of food shortage the older sibling will kill the younger one in order to survive. This process is known as siblicide.
  • Males are usually monogamous, yet every year must dance to find a new mate.
  • Males and females can be told apart from pigmentation in females pupil making it look larger.
  • The name booby came from the Spanish word “Bobo” (stupid), but as we can read, this bird is anything from that.
blue footed booby chick
blue footed booby chick

Best sites in Galapagos for spotting blue footed Boobies:

North Seymour(top Booby site), Lobos Island, San Cristobal, Isabela, Fernandina, Española, Santa Cruz. To find a cruise that visits each of these locations check out the itineraries of the Seaman Journey: