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Blue-footed Booby: Unmistakable Pacific showoff

A Blue-footed Booby perches on a rock on the Galapagos Islands. Photo by Nicolas de Camaret (Creative Commons)
A Blue-footed Booby perches on a rock on the Galapagos Islands. Photo by Nicolas de Camaret (Creative Commons)

Readers of BirdWatching in early 2013 voted Blue-footed Booby the tenth most-wanted bird in the United States and Canada. Here’s what you need to know to add it to your life list.

Description, range, and population

DESCRIPTION. Large seabird with long bill and tail, streaked head, white breast, dark back, and blue feet. (ABA Code 4)

RANGE. Pacific coast from Mexico to central Peru, especially the Gulf of California, Galapagos Islands, Honduras, and Panama. In Mexico, common in the Gulf of California and on the coast from San Blas south to Oaxaca.

POPULATION. Fewer than 40,000 pairs worldwide (2001 estimate). Preliminary data from a new Galapagos study indicate 6,000-10,000 birds are on the islands.

View a real-time eBird map.

Viewing regions

Pacific coast from Mexico to Central Peru and especially the Gulf of California and the Galapagos Islands


Partnership for International Birding: Galapagos Islands: Birding and Nature with Xavier Munoz, October 26-November 6, 2014

Victor Emanuel Nature Tours: Galapagos Islands Cruise, October 18-27, 2013, July 25-August 3, 2014, and October 31-November 9, 2014; Baja California: Among the Great Whales, February 22-March 1, 2014

Tropical Birding: Galapagos Endemics Cruise, October 24-November 2, 2013

Exotic Birding: Galapagos Islands Photo Cruise, November 9-18, 2013, and June 7-16, 2014

Wings: Mexico: San Blas — Mangroves and Forests, January 18-26, 2014; Mexico: Baja California’s Cape Region, February 7-14, 2015

Bird Treks: San Blas, Mexico, January 25-February 2, 2014

Eagle-Eye Tours: Galapagos Voyage, April 25-May 6, 2014; Western Mexico, January 27-February 8, 2015

Cheeseman’s Ecology Safaris: The Galapagos Islands: In-depth Exploration of Evolution’s Playground, May 18-June 4, 2014

Field Guides: Galapagos: An Intimate Look at Darwin’s Islands, June 14-24, July 5-15, and August 2-12, 2014

Wild Planet Nature Tours: Where the Desert Meets the Sea: La Paz, Baja California, Mexico, February 26-March 5, 2015

Birdquest: Baja California: The Last Kingdom of the Whales, April 8-19, 2015

About our poll

We wanted to know, and you told us.

Earlier this year, we published a list of 240 bird species that occur in the United States and Canada and asked readers of BirdWatching magazine to choose the 10 that they wanted to see most.

We derived our list from the authoritative ABA Checklist. We included all rare, casual, and accidental species (ABA Checklist Codes 3, 4, and 5); regularly occurring North American species that are not widespread (Codes 1 and 2); and one species that was once dangerously close to extinction but today is surviving in captivity and struggling to become naturally re-established (Code 6). We omitted most species not native to North America.

Nearly 900 of our readers participated. Their 10 most-wanted birds include three owls, a handful of endangered species, a clown-faced puffin, a blue-footed seabird that is rarely spotted in the United States, and America’s one and only condor.

We presented the 10 most-wanted birds in the August 2013 issue of BirdWatching. Our article included not only the descriptions, population info, and eBird maps above but also 10 things you didn’t know about each species.

Originally Published

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