Red-footed Booby

Sula sula rubripes / Ā
Redfooted booby

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

Red-footed boobies at Kīlauea Point are a white color morph. Adult birds have white body and tail plumage. Upper wings have black primary and greater secondary coverts.

Feeds by diving vertically into the water and rarely within sight of land. May dive up to 10 meters to pursue prey, primarily flying fish and squid. Feeds singly or in mixed species flocks. Feeds anytime during the day and after dark.

Breeding season ranges from late January through September. Nests are built of twigs and sticks on tops of wilelaiki (Christmas berry Schinus ferebinthifolius) and tree heliotrope (Tournefortia argentea), both nonnative shrubs, and on the branches of ironwood (Casurina equisetifolia). The refuge is restoring a native coastal plant community to provide the following native habitat species: naupaka (Scaevola sericea) and hala (Pandanus tectorius).

Begin breeding at four years of age. Monogamous. A single, chalky, white egg is laid. Re-laying can occur if first egg is lost. Lacks brood patch. Incubates with feet. Male and female share incubation duties. Individual incubation shifts average about 24 hours. Incubation period is approximately 43 days. Chick feeding takes place once every 16-18 hours. Fledging occurs approximately 91 days after hatching. Post-fledging care and feeding can continue for one to four months.

Facts About Red-footed Booby

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

Length: 66-67 cm (26-30 in); wingspan: 91-101 cm (36-40 in)