Frigate Birds and Blue Footed Boobies

Look at my Feet!

North Seymour Island is home to a wide variety of wildlife but it is the birds that are special on our visit.

Our favourite is the Blue Footed Boobie. They are so comical and we are entranced as we watch one male put on a wonderful display as he attempts to attract a watching female. He is clearly proud of his huge, brightly blue coloured webbed feet and he seems to be oblivious to the fact that they are not unique as the female is wearing similar coloured footwear.

He uses his feet to try to attract her attention, raising first one then the other, high into the air in a matching on the spot exercise, occasionally spreading his wings and throwing back his head to emit a shrill whistle. We can easily understand how this stupid looking bird got his name.

There are two species of Frigate birds in the Galapagos: the Frigate Bird Minor whose origin was Asia and the Frigate Bird Magnificent hailing originally from the Caribbean Islands. While there are differences that are easy to spot when pointed out, they are for the most part very similar and both are here on North Seymour.

It is breeding season and in the trees the males are puffing up their gular sacks in the hope that the female will notice their bright red throats. The females fly in to inspect the nesting spot the male has chosen. If the nest has what the female considers “good potential” she will stay, if not the male must stay inflated until he finds a lady who is impressed.

Lightweight and aerodynamically shaped, these birds have wingspan of up to 250 centimetres. They are so agile in the air with their magnificent scissor shaped tail but they are hopeless on the ground and landing can make very amusing watching.

Queen of Galapagos is available for charter through Robert Shepherd at Edmiston

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