island conservation blue-footed booby

Why So Blue? Evolution and The Blue-footed Booby

Have you ever wondered why the Blue-footed Booby has blue feet? Science has the answers.

What’s in a name? The Blue-footed Booby’s name can tell you a lot about the unique birds. The species is known for its striking turquoise-colored feet, and the name Booby is believed to derive from the Spanish word “Bobo” which means “clown” or “stupid” and refers to the bird’s peculiar waddle.

Blue-footed Boobies have widespread populations throughout the tropics and subtropics of the Eastern Pacific. Large populations give researchers ample opportunity to study the species very closely and learn all about the birds’ mating, parental, and feeding habits. David J. Anderson of Wake Forest University explained:

They’re super fascinating animals and such a good research model…they let you move among them without minding too much. You try to do that with a continental bird or mammal—forget about it. But with these guys you see it all.

island conservation blue-footed booby

Blue-footed Booby in the Galápagos. Credit: Island Conservation

The birds’ tolerance for humans has allowed researchers to deeply explore the world of the Blue-footed Boobies.  One big question researchers have worked to uncover is: why do Blue-footed Boobies have blue feet?

Researchers have identified two main factors in the blue-ness of the birds’ feet – one is an internal mechanism and the other is from their food. Juvenile Blue-footed Booby feet are only slightly blue; this is because of an alignment of proteins in the skin that results in a purplish-blue hue.

In the bird community, the bluer the feet the better. Both males and females are selective about the blueness of their prospective mates’ feet, but the internal proteins are not enough. The added pigment comes from their food. Boobies are seabirds that preferentially feed on schooling fish such as sardines. They extract bright yellow pigments from carotenoids in fish, a process which causes their feet to display a turquoise color. Evolutionarily the blue feet show that the bird is healthier  than a less-blue counterpart.

The color of the Blue-footed Boobies feet is only a fraction of the discoveries scientists have made and there are plenty more to come from these unique animals.

Featured photo: Blue-footed Booby. Credit: Emily
Read more about Blue-footed Booby research in the New York Times

About Emily Heber

Emily is a recent graduate from UC Santa Barbara with a BS in Zoology. As a student, she discovered that she had a passion for the conservation of endangered species and their ecosystems. Her background in informal education has allowed her the opportunity to share her passion for animals with others, something she seeks to continue doing while working with the communication team. In her spare time, Emily enjoys exploring the amazing hiking trails found in Santa Cruz and tries to SCUBA dive whenever possible. Emily is excited to join the Island Conservation team and to help share the amazing work that is being done here.

View All Posts

Follow Island Conservation on Social Media

[ism-social-followers list='fb,tw,li,youtube,instagram' template='ism_template_sf_1' list_align='horizontal' display_counts='false' display_full_name='true' box_align='center' ]

[ism-social-followers list='fb,tw,li,youtube,instagram' template='ism_template_sf_1' list_align='horizontal' display_counts='false' display_full_name='true' box_align='center' ]

Midway Atoll conservation




%d bloggers like this:

naxopren male enhancement energy pills reviews best penis pill buy sex pills online does purple rhino male enhancement work b vitamin supplement dragon 2000 male enhancement pill china sex pill blue package duro max male enhancement system best penis growing pills boost ultimate penis enlargement does cobra male enhancement work gary griffin penis size and enlargement best sexual medicine for man weight loss penis enlargement what are the best fiber pills for anal sex penis enlargement reviews mayo clinic rhino gold pill do growth pills work best male enhancement pills malaysia round blue pill v montezumas secret erection pills natural pills for impotence miss doctor sex pills best vitamin supplement for ed male enhancement pill rhino erectile dysfunction cappillaries viagra like drugs over the counter dr ozs pill for erectile dysfunction pill with v on one side ed drug prices birth control pills that reduce sex drive one boost male enhancement gnc best sex pill at gas station rock me pills viagr male enhancement pills grow your penis fast no pills sex on metronidazole pills mens all natural sex pills anytime male enhancement best natural herbal pills for sex drive gold max male enhancement 10 capsules viagra einzelne pillen kaufen topical cream for penis enlargement

cbd oil for humans cbd oil dose 1200 mg cbd oil spray arthritis cbd oil the truth about cbd oil new cbd drug for epilepsy hemp cbd gummies soul cbd reviews cbd oil for heart what are cbd products cbd pen amazon cbd oil for psoriasis the vitamin shoppe cbd oil best cbd pre rolls cannabidiol oil cbd cbd health cbd honey oil how to make cbd oil tincture halo cbd cartridge coa for cbd science behind cbd oil cbd oil ssri cbd oil containing thc how to use cbd tincture for pain mixing cbd oil with weed cbd 4 paws revital u cbd cbd oil yuma az cbd oil natural news fresh thyme cbd is cbd oil good for parkinsons disease cbd oil gummy bears does cbd oil help with cramps cbd sleep aid cbd oil drop shipping sydney restaurants cbd fine dining will you test positive with cbd oil cbd oil side effects on kidneys cbd oil for nerve ending damage kim k cbd baby shower cbd oil tincture benefits anxiety smoke shops that sell cbd hemp cbd oil federal law is cbd oil legal in kansas

cla pills for weight loss keto weight loss pills from shark tank meltdown weight loss pills tuna diet weight loss thyroid disease and weight loss pills keto tone diet pills south africa lida weight loss pills review diet plan for women to lose weight keto diet recipes for 2 weeks weight loss pills for minors easy diet meal plan to lose weight whats best weight loss pill serotonin power diet weight loss natural weight loss pills for men vlcc weight loss diet plan raw food diet fast weight loss weight loss pills dr oz recommends diet only to lose weight ketogenic diet for weight loss menu best diet and exercise plans to lose weight best weight loss diet pcos anthony anderson weight loss diet good vegan weight loss diet stacker weight loss pills weight loss diet quiz free keto pills for rapid weight loss myplate weight loss diet weight loss pill contrave weight loss no cook diet vegetable diet chart for weight loss buckwheat diet for weight loss good detox diet to lose weight gm diet chart for weight loss vegetarian chris evans weight loss diet ketogenic diet for weight loss over 50 yrs ibs diet for weight loss what of weight loss is diet can you lose weight on the dash diet best pills lose weight body fat for men chicken salad diet weight loss fast free weight loss diets best diet weight loss for apoe4 military weight loss diets natural dietary supplements for weight loss