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Pelagic photo, help? (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
This landed on our dive boat about 50 km east and 100km north of Cairns. It rode out the night on the stern, flying off (I didn't see) after dawn about 35 km NE of Cairns. Feet are pinkish-red. Help?


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Well-known member
Red-footed Booby would be my guess - as others have said, definitely a booby, and to me Red-footed looks the best fit, but I'm not certain


Well-known member
Thanks for the help. The bird had a flesh tone bill with blue flesh around the eye. I didn't see anything similar in my book and have no experience with red-footed booby. Guess I'll wait for the next one to tic.


Active member
I am no expert and would need to check a few refrences but the bird looks like an Abbott's Booby. If so, this would be a significant record for Queensland. Do you have any other photos you might be willing to share? The bird looks oiled which could be why it sat on your boat. Roger


Active member
A bit more research and I feel comfortable that this is a sub-adult Red-footed Booby.

Plumage and color can be variable but the culmen shape is right for Red-footed and the wrong shape for Abbotts. Adult female Abbott's has pink bill so that looks good, but this is a sub-adult, not a full adult. Black on the tip and around the eye look good for Abbotts, but there seems to be a lot of black, more than there should be for Abbotts. I don't think Abbotts ever has pink feet, they should always be blue or black so that is another strike against Abbotts. Plus, Red-footed are not too uncommon around Cairns so I suppose if you hear hoofbeats don't think zebra!

Thanks for posting! Roger


Well-known member
Thank you for the thoughtful replies, yes I was considering Abbot's but was unwilling to go there without other confirmation. Unfortunately this is the only photo, but the feet were definitely pink to red. Cheers, and happy birding.


i question the red footed id just because the red footed has such a bluish beak and your photo shows a lighter flesh colour with a darker tip which does fit the Abbotts better.
Though the leg colour becomes an issue then

I could not find a single image of a red foot with a beak like the one in your pic

first image is the the abbotts and then the red footed

wonder if it could possibly be a hybrid ?????


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