Galapagos wildlife

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Galapagos Islands sea birds


Red-footed Boobies: The red footed booby (Sula sula), is the smallest and least often seen of the Galapagos boobies. It is however, the most abundant of the three species, but its colonies occur at the edges of the archipelago, except for the one on Genovesa Island, these are not often seen by visitors.

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Feeding on flying fish far out at sea, the red-footed booby tends to nest on the outer islands of the archipelago. Unlike the other boobies, the red-foot nests in trees; it has little claws at the end of its webbed feet that are suitable for perching. It also builds real nests which, although nothing more than fragile looking arrangement of a few twigs, is a marked departure from the other boobies, who nest on the open ground.

Galapagos masked booby

Masked boobies: With a wingspan of 1.5 m, this species is the largest of the boobies. Its brilliant pure white body plumage contrasts with its almost black wing markings. Like the blue-foot, the masked booby, (Sula dactylatra), nests on the ground, but being heavier and larger it has more trouble taking off. As a result, its colonies are more usually found near cliffs and on the steep outer slopes of tuff and cinder cones, where the upward air currents make it easier to take off.

The masked booby feeds further offshore than the blue-foot and is rarely seen fishing. They are occasionally seen taking off from the colony and diving immediately into the sea, after which they bathe themselves, perhaps to keep cool.

Masked boobies are frequently seen by the edge of a cliff, posed on a rock.

Galapagos sea birds, Flightless cormorant and Frigatebird
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