Blue footed boobies in the Galapagos Islands. (source:

Guys you can put away the lotion/olive oil. It’s not what you think. But if you read on I guarantee you will garner some very useful knowledge that could probably change your mind about sending me death threats.

Yes they are boobies, but the flying and furry kind. As you may imagine, I’ve already lost sleep trying to make sense of the thought process that led to this rather ambiguous naming of a bird specie, not that I believe it to be intentional. One popular theory is that the name evolved from the Spanish word ‘bobo’, suggesting the unintelligent habit of the birds being consistently oblivious to human presence and thereby becoming a regular feature in the dinner menus of colonial seafaring types. If they only knew of the ramifications that it would have in the age of the internet.

Anyway, now that we have extinguished any confusion, here are some fast facts on boobies:

– Scientific name: Nevermind. When do they ever come in handy.

– Boobies are fishing birds that hunt by diving into the sea, much like seagulls.

– Boobies are large, in comparison to many other seabirds. Most species can grow upto more than 2 feet long with a wingspan of nearly 5 feet. Adults easily weigh more than a kilogram.

– General physical features of boobies are that they are thick-bodied, with a long bill and large webbed feet.

– Booby species are easily found in the tropical regions of the oceans. They often travel long distances to fish.

– Boobies live up to around 20 years of age on average.

– Boobies have breeding colonies, kind of like penguins.

– Hunting can be a spectacular sight, with boobies diving from up to 95 feet. (That’s the height of the famous ‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue in Rio de Janeiro.)

– The most visually appealing kind is undoubtedly the blue-footed booby, with it’s contrasting, blue coloured feet. They are found mostly in and around the coastal regions of Central America.

– The peculiar colouring of the blue-footed boobys feet seem to mainly serve the purpose of attracting a mate. Females are attracted to the brightest coloured feet. If only we had it that easy. The coloured feet also make their mating ritual dance that much more interesting.

A red footed booby in flight. (source:

Little doubt that boobies are in general pretty cool. I love em. They are very interesting and amusing to watch; under unavoidable circumstances, they would be a great substitute to KFC; they have generally been nicer to humans than we have been to them; and watching a flock hunt is like watching an aerial bombardment over water. Unfortunately, even though they are doing alright in the wild, they aren’t faring too well on the internet, due to reasons that I am sure you can figure out. Let’s just say it can be very inconvenient to google them. In addition to their online presence being severely encroached on, they have also been often ridiculed for their behaviour and of course their name, adding insult to injury. This is a tribute, overdue to these wonderful creatures, the ‘real’ boobies.

And just when you thought they couldn’t be any cooler, they offer you guys the ultimate get-out-of-jail card for those occasions when you forget to delete your search/browser history or for when someone overhears your discussion with the fellas. You are welcome.

A flock of blue footed boobies diving in the Galapagos. (source:




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