Blue-footed Boobies: these cute birds are many of Galápagos travelers’ favorites! During the months of April and May they enter their mating season, giving visitors the chance to see them do their fancy dance.
During the booby-mating season, male Blue-footed Boobies perform a fancy courtship dance with lots of hooting, honking and pointing their beaks skyward. This takes place on different times on different islands, but around March-May is a good time to see this particular spectacle.
During mating rituals, male birds show off their feet to prospective mates with a high-stepping strut. The bluer the feet, the more attractive the mate. Therefore, while mating, these male birds start to walk in front of the female birds displaying their beautiful teal-blue feet. These birds pull out ALL the stops when asking a lady to mate! First, they show their feet. Then, they bow low and give her a gift (they will bring a stick on its mouth). After that, he shows his feet again and then, if chosen by the lady, they live happily ever after! While many boobies change mates from season to season, they are considered very faithful in the long term in comparison to other birds.
The female birds are the fancy ones. Boobies are quite specific about finding the perfect partner, and one of the traits they fixate on is the relative blueness of the partner´s feet. The optimal color would be turquoise.
When feeding they circle high over the water, until they spot the fish they will hunt. Freezing in midair they aim before dropping head first onto their targets. They often hunt small fish in flocks, each hitting the water at 60 miles per hour. Its brain is protected by specialized air sacks in their skull.
Blue-footed Boobies prefer to nest in any open spot: many Galápagos visitors have had to walk around boobies who imprudently set up their home right on the path! Therefore, they also squabble with one another over territory and nesting sites. Boobies generally lay two eggs several days apart, leaving the elder chick with enormous advantage in terms of food provision and acquisition skills in comparison to the younger chick. Nevertheless, this sibling violence is provisional. Once they become teenagers, they are ready to focus on their stylish blue feet and not fight for food anymore!