Friday, December 20, 2013
Creature Feature #65: Booby
Boobies are a species of sea bird, related to gannets. The name derives from Spanish slang "bobo", meaning "stupid", a moniker given to the bird by early sailors, who found them particularly easy to catch, kill and cook. Like many naive birds, the boobies had not learned to fear humans, and thus fell easy prey to curiosity. Like a gannet, he dives for fish. He has airsacs about his face to cushion it as he strikes the water. The most well known of the six extant species is the blue-footed booby, extensively studied by Charles Darwin and now noted for his courtship dance. When displaying to the female, he struts before her, lifting each of his large blue feet to show them to their best advantage. The bluer his feet, the healthier the bird, as the colour pigmentation is linked to his immune system.