Red-footed Booby

Sula sula




Boobies and Gannets (Sulidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:


Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

43 - 49

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

In trees or shrubs.

Nest Material:

Sticks and twigs.





Red-footed Booby: Smallest booby; long tail and large eyes. White-morph has white head, body and tail. Some have black tail, others have white tail; dark upperwing and saddle, pale blue face has pink-base and pale blue bill. Flight feathers are black. Legs and feet are bright red. Brown morph is tan to chocolate-brown with darker flight feathers; most pale on head, neck and underparts. Sexes are similar. Juvenile resembles adult brown morph, paler foreneck and belly, diffused pectoral band; pink-gray legs and feet.

Range and Habitat

Red-footed Booby: Breeds on tropical islands worldwide, including the West Indies, Galapagos, and throughout the Indian Ocean. Individuals are known to stray to Dry Tortugas off Florida, and they occur accidentally off Gulf and California coasts. This species is pelagic, only coming ashore to breed.

Breeding and Nesting

Red-footed Booby: One chalky white egg is laid in a loose nest made of sticks and twigs, built in a tree, shrubs, or thick grass tufts. Incubation ranges from 43 to 49 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Red-footed Booby: Their diet includes squid and flying fish, crustaceans and other fish. They plunge dive vertically for most food in deep waters and sometimes catch flying fish in the air. Sometimes they make oblique, shallow surface dives, or sit on the water to grab prey at the surface. They feed singly or in flocks, numbering a few to several hundred.


Red-footed Booby: Call is a harsh, raspy "rah-rah-rah," which is usually emitted when an individual is returning to its nesting colony.

Similar Species

Red-footed Booby: Masked Booby has black tail, black inner secondaries, dark facial skin, and gray legs.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Flight feathersX
Located on the wing, and collectively called remiges (singular, remex). The long stiff feathers are subdivided into two major groups based on the location and are called primaries and secondaries.
Also called the jugulum or throat patch, it is located on the front of the neck.
The pelagic is a type of bird whose habitat is on the open ocean rather than in a coastal region or on inland bodies of water (lakes, rivers). An example of a pelagic bird is the blacklegged kittiwake.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X