Birds of the Great Barrier Reef – Red-footed Booby


A common sight on the reef are the Booby Birds scanning the oceans in search of food. The Booby, a type of seabird, is part of the family Sulidae and the genus Sula. It is closely related to the gannets (Morus), which were often included in Sula in former times.
Boobies are large birds, with long pointed wings and long bills. They hunt fish, by diving from a height into the sea and pursuing their prey underwater. Facial air sacs, under their skin, cushion the impact with the water. Boobies are colonial breeders on islands and coasts. They normally lay one or more chalky-blue eggs, on the ground or sometimes in a tree nest.
Their name is possibly based on the Spanish slang term bobo, meaning “dunce”, as these tame birds had a habit of landing on-board sailing ships, where they were easily captured and eaten. Owing to this, Boobies are often mentioned as having been caught and eaten by shipwrecked sailors, notably Captain Bligh of the Bounty and his loyalists, during their famous voyage after being set adrift by Fletcher Christian and his mutineers.

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