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Red-footed Booby

Sula sula rubripes / ‘A
Red-footed booby pair

Red-footed boobies are the smallest of all boobies. Their legs and feet are red and the bill is pale blue. Juveniles are wholly brown or blackish gray with black bill and facial skin and gray legs. Immature have patchy underwings without definite pattern, white back, mottled gray-brown head, and red or brownish legs. They are polymorphic; few seabirds display such a variety of color phases.

Adult birds have white body and tail plumage. Upperwings have black primary and greater secondary coverts.

Breeding season ranges from late January through September. Nests are built of twigs and sticks exclusively on tops of shrubs. 

They are monogamous and begin breeding at 4 years of age. A single, chalky, white egg is laid. Re-laying can occur if first egg is lost. They lack a brood patch and incubate with their feet. Male and female share incubation duties with individual 24 hour incubation shifts. Incubation period ranges between 42-45 days. Chick feeding occurs once every 16-18 hours. Fledging ranges between 95-101 days after hatching. Post-fledging care and feeding can continue for 1 to 4 months.

Facts About Red-footed Booby

Diet
Red-footed boobies feed by diving vertically into the water and rarely within sight of land. They may dive up to 30 meters to pursue prey - flying fish and squid. They feed singly or in mixed species flocks, anytime during the day and after dark.
Life Span
22 years
Size
Length: 66-67 cm (26-30 in); wingspan: 91-101 cm (36-40 in)
Page Photo Credits — Ian Jones/USFWS
Last Updated: Aug 27, 2013
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