Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Blue-Footed Boobies of Ecuador


Blue-footed Boobies are usually considered as part of the magic of Galapagos Islands.

But these magnificent marine birds may be found in several locations on the Eastern Pacific coastline.

Usually they nest on small islands with rocky coastlines.

But with the El Niño closing on, it has been possible to find more and more of them in the continent’s coastline.

These pictures are taken in a small fishing village of San Pedro in Santa Elena Province of Ecuador.


While my son was bathing and having fun with his friends I decided to take a walk and take some pictures of the sea, the birds and the fishers.

It was a slightly clouded day with a lot of wind and the local people wore warm clothes while the tourists, like me, pranced around in t-shirts and shorts.

It started getting cold but I wanted to go a bit further, right next to the fishing boats, to see if there was something worth taking pictures.

And right there on the beach, hiding behind a fishing boat was a flock of Blue-Footed Boobies.


The origin of the English name “Booby” is thought to originate from “Bobo”, which in Spanish means a clown.

The name was given for the birds for their comical and somewhat ungainly behaviour when on land.

They were also thought of as foolish due to their fearlessness of humans.

I was able to see an example of this fearlessness right there.

One of the Boobies stood right next to a fisher and showed no fear or worry.


I had to finally ask if it was a pet.

He told me that it was a wild bird, just like the other ones.

But they would come to see if the fishers had any small birds or other food to give to them.

- It is a calm and friendly one, he told me, if you don’t go too near.

Blue-Footed Boobies are large birds and they reach 70-90 cm in height and can have a wing span of up to 1,5 meters.


I couldn’t help getting a bit closer all the time, just to take one more picture.

The birds stared at me, until finally they got bored and continued their stare at the sea.

Mystery surrounds the reason for the blue feet but it plays an important part in courting.

It seems that the colour of male’s feet may be linked to their diet and indicate their condition.


Females are likely to select for mates birds with brighter feet.

Boobies are strictly carnivorous marine birds and all feeding is done at sea.

They especially like sardines and anchovies.

El Niño makes the water warmer and many of the fish that usually live in the Ecuador’s coast aren’t present.

The Humboldt Current brings usually cold water and food for the sea life from the Antarctic till the southernmost part of continental Ecuador.


From there the current turns towards Galapagos.

The rich cold water is one of the reasons why there are so many species of animals and birds on the islands.

With the warm waters of El Niño it is nice for the tourists to go for a swim but both animals and fishers are suffering from the lack of fish.

Blue-Footed Boobies reproductive success is closely linked to climate events and El Niño doesn’t only affect their feeding.

The Boobies were definitely waiting for a change for better.

50 comments:

  1. What stunning birds - they look quite regal with their blue feet!

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  2. I´ve neevr heard of Blue-footed Boobies before. Those blue feet look just like someone had painted them blue.

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  3. What a unique bird. How exciting to see one!

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  4. I know I should be serious, but the boys were reading this over my shoulder and have had be laughing at blue boobies - boys eh!

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  5. These little birds are so cute! I love how their feet are blue.

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  6. How absolutely amazing to come upon them just like that. And to get such brilliant pictures. Great post!

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  7. my girls love love love blue footed boobies :D

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  8. I love this post as I have spent hours bird watching. These birds look like they have had their blue legs and feet coloured in!

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  9. My hubby is an avid birder. Visiting Ecuador and the Galapagos islands are on our bucket list. Thanks for this interesting post!

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  10. I never knew much about Blue-Footed Boobies before. It's really interesting to learn about why their feet are blue though.

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  11. What unusual looking birds - very pretty though. Great photos!

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  12. My first time ever seeing such a bird. Looks cute though.

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  13. Oh my goodness! They've got bright blue legs and feet! Amazing! I've never seen or heard of these before so really interesting to learn more about them.

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  14. I've never heard of these birds, their feet are an incredible colour. It's interesting to read about them, thank you.

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  15. They are amazing! At first glance I thought their feet had been coloured in photoshop. Isn't nature wonderful?

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  16. They are beautiful! What an interesting looking bird! I enjoyed reading about them. I'm fascinated by different types of wildlife.

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  17. That is a beautiful shade of blue. I love that they are call boobies. Haha

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  18. Wow I love their feet! That is such a gorgeous shade of blue. Love their names

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  19. Those birds are cute. I bet there are also people like you who want them as pets at home.

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  20. I want to visit this island to see this blue footed bird

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  21. These birds are awesome, the blue feet make them so unique, never seen anything even similar to them.

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  22. these are beautiful, their feel are so bright and colorful. God is amazing!

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  23. I never see or heard anything about Blue Bird Bobby, thanks for help me increase my GK

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  24. So cute! The blue part is so outstanding!~

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  25. They have a really unique shade of blue color in their foot. It's nice to know more about them and I hope they do well with the climate change.

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  26. Stunning birds. Loving the pictures.

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  27. Wow! First time to see a bird with a blue feet. Very unique and I love to know more about them.

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  28. These birds are amazing! So beautiful x

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  29. I'm so childish, I always giggle at their names - but blue footed boobies are such unusual birds! Love the photos

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  30. lol what a funny name to call a bird! >XD great photos and it's amusing how their feet are a striking blue! >XD

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  31. First time to see this creature and really, it's blue footed similar to ducks. Well, Bobo in the Philippines means not an intelligent person, yes, a clown.

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  32. Love these blue beaks and blue feet! They are so cute! The blue colour gives them a cartoonish look!

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  33. The Blue Footed Booby is among the animals that ought to serve as a team's mascot someday. They're awesome.

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  34. Boobies, they sound funny. I find it interesting that females get attracted to the better blue-ness of the feet. Sort of like getting attracted to the most groomed one.

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  35. Amazing birds, I never paid attention to their blue feet before. That color perfectly coincides with the blue of the boats, and the blue of the sea. I have another proof nature does wonders in creating such a variety of forms and shapes!

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  36. When I was a tour guide in Europe one of the destinations I would promote was the Galapagos Islands; the ambassador of which was the Blue Footed Boobie. Always a crowd pleaser.

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  37. Ouww~ this animal is so cute.. I've never seen blue-footed animal like this before, so thanks for the info.
    ^_^

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  38. How'd I wish I could see them here too. Glad to know they are wild animals

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  39. These little guys are a panic! it looks like they are wearing rain boots :-)

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  40. such lovely creatures. I've done an article about this Blue footed boobies. One of many amazing animals seen in Galapagos Island.

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  41. Such beautiful birds with gorgeous feet. I'd love a pair of shoes in that shade of blue.... so, so pretty.

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  42. Thank you for introducing us to these wonderful blue footed boobies! I have not heard of them till you featured them in your post. They are such interesting birds and I can see in a few photos that some have brighter colored feet, must be more desirable then.

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  43. Their feet i the same as duck's feet. But it's feet color makes it unique.

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  44. Their feet is the same as duck's feet. But the color blue makes it unique

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  45. I had never come across these before. That blue is so stricking. Beautiful creatures.

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  46. What amazing birds, the blue looks like it's been photoshopped it's so vibrant! I love them and would love to see them in the wild.

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  47. wow the blue really is so blue isn't it! so pretty! x

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  48. I don't think I've ever seen them. What incredible photos!

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