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Galapagos Highlight: The Blue-Footed Boobies Dance

Posted on 04/26/2019

 

 

Described by Charles Darwin as ‘a little world within itself,’ the volcanic Galapagos Islands are Mother Nature at her most creative. It’s not hard to understand why this colorful destination and its biodiversity inspired the theory of evolution: rare birds decorate the sky, otherworldly reptiles patrol alien landscapes and dozens of endemic floral species bloom in full splendor.

When you visit the Galapagos Islands you’ll witness giant tortoises in their natural habitat; walk on solidified lava; see sea lions up close and perhaps even swim with them; and stroll along red-sanded beaches, as rare birds – including Darwin’s finches, waved albatrosses and brown pelicans, among others – take flight nearby.

But perhaps the most charismatic ones are the colorful cousins – the three types of Boobies you get to see in Galapagos: blue-footed Boobies, red-footed Boobies and Nazca Boobies.

If you interested and visiting Galapagos, Silversea can take you there all-year long, but starting in April it is matting season for the blue-footed Boobies, which are known for displaying their fabulous flirting. Many birds exhibit elaborate mating dances and rituals. But blue-footed boobies are the ultimate masters of avian romance. The seabird’s display, which begins once it reaches sexual maturity around four years of age, highlights beauty, health and skill. 

The male spends a lot of time making himself look good by preening. When a likely mate passes by, the male points everything he can towards the sky in her direction – beak, wings, tail, chest, all positioned to give the best view to the female above. He also whistles, as if to say “look at me!".

When courting, both male and female take part in a high-stepping display that draws attention to their feet. The male reels the female in closer by raising one leg and then the other to show off his beautiful blue feet, which are a sign of health and reproductive fitness. These blue feet are a result of carotenoid pigments in their diet, so the feet of the most well-fed birds have the darkest hue. If she’s keen, she’ll mirror his movements showing her own feet.

Their dance might look silly to outsiders but these are powerful instincts at work; these seemingly playful antics are vital for the survival of the species.

 

BIRD SPECIES UPCOMING ACTIVITIES IN GALAPAGOS

April:

  • Courtship dances of Waved Albatrosses on Española
  • Blue-footed Boobies are in mating season, giving visitors the change to see them do their fancy dance.
  • Frigatebird mating season is in full swing
  • Frigatebird pouches visible on Genovesa


May:

  • Waved Albatrosses begin laying eggs
  • Storm Petrels begin nesting season
  • Booby mating season continues
  • Frigatebirds begin laying eggs
  •  

June:

  • Short-eared Owls on Genovesa begin nesting season
  • Boobies nest and lay eggs
  • A good month to see Frigatebird pouches on North Seymour
     

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