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Red-footed Booby

From Opus

White phase birdPhoto by NeilOahu, Hawaii, USA
White phase bird
Photo by Neil
Oahu, Hawaii, USA
Sula sula


[edit] Identification

L. 26-29 in

  • Long tail
  • Short neck
  • Red feet
  • Black flight feathers
    • Primaries and, in most populations, outer secondaries
  • Bluish bill with pink base
  • Bluish skin around the eye
Brown phase birdPhoto by LMG
Brown phase bird
Photo by LMG

[edit] Brown Phase

  • Wings darker than head, neck and underside of body
  • Pink face
  • Bluish bill
  • Most have white tip to tail
  • Many have dark brown necklace around upper breast

[edit] Brown with White tail

Fundamentally similar to the brown phase except that the entire tail, undertail coverts, and uppertail coverts are white.

[edit] White phase

  • Entirely white, except for flight feathers
  • Distinctive black bar on distal underwing coverts
    • See image
  • Yellow wash on head and neck in some populations

Some Pacific populations have most of the tail black, while in the Caribbean and around Australia, the tail is white.

[edit] Juvenile

Birds are similar to the brown color phase, but lack the pink base to the bill. They start out with the bill all gray and feet that are dusky to orange; the bill then turn two-colored with dark tip and lighter inner part that may be fleshy. The juvenile also have the head and neck lighter than the upperside of the wing, and compared with e.g., juvenile Brown Booby has darker underwing lacking the white areas seen in the latter.

[edit] Distribution

This is a pan-tropical species with nominate subspecies breeding in the Caribbean (only white and brown with white tail) and off Brazil, with rubripes breeding in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and websteri breeding off Mexico and Central America.

[edit] Taxonomy

Formerly placed under the name Sula piscator.

[edit] Subspecies

Three subspecies[1]:

  • S. s. sula: Red-footed Booby (Atlantic)
  • S. s. rubripes: Red-footed Booby (Hawaiian)
  • Breeds islands in tropical Pacific and Indian oceans
  • S. s. websteri Red-footed Booby (Eastern Pacific)

[edit] Habitat

Pelagic; rarely seen near land except near breeding colonies which are normally situated on small islands.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Breeding

May breed in any month with nests situated in trees and bushes, rarely on the ground.

[edit] Feeding

It is a strong flyer which rarely dive vertically but instead often flies into a wave or hit calmer water in a shallow angle. May also catch flying-fish above water.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from

[edit] External Links


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