Blue-footed Boobies in Trouble
by Richard Kemeney
Perfectly in step, this blue-footed booby (Sula nebouxii) couple on Santa Cruz Island in the Galápagos appear to be on the right track with their graceful, elaborate mating dance.
But fancy footwork isn’t enough to maintain the Ecuadorian booby populace. Recent research has shown that these majestic birds aren’t making enough baby boobies, and population is shrinking.
The dance, which involves whistling, flapping and both birds marching around on their brilliantly blue feet, can impressively last for several hours. But they should be focusing on dinner, not dancing: the decline is probably due to lack of sardines, the birds’ favourite food. Without them, they may have the energy to boogie, but not to breed.
Journal reference: Avian Conservation and Ecology
(via: New Scientist)
Image: Tui De Roy/ Minden Pictures