Sunday, August 29, 2010

Brown Boobies, large seabirds

PD Photo: Adult Brown Booby on Tern Island in French Frigate Shoals (the largest atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands).

PD Photo: Brown Boobies building a nest on the ground with sticks/ stems of creepers in Coral Sea islands, Australia.

PD Photo: Brown Boobies returning to nest at sunset, Coral Sea Islands, Australia. This bird is being TRACKED; enlarge the photo (CLICK) and see a wring-like numbered device on its leg.

The Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster), a large seabird of the gannet family, Sulidae, grows to about 76 centimeters / 2.5 feet in length. The Brown Boobies’ heads and upper bodies are black or dark brown and their bellies and the rest of the bodies are in contrasting white. Their beaks are very sharp with many jagged edges. They have short wings and long tapered tails. They have powerful webbed feet to help them in swimming and diving, just like a frogs limbs, but with three fingers in the front with web between them and a toe on the back.

Brown Boobies are mostly silent, but bird watchers have reported hearing sounds similar to grunting or quacking made by these birds. Brown Boobies dive deep in water, plunging into seawater at high speed.

They mainly eat small fishes, squids and leaping fish. They are agile fliers and use strong winds and high perches to assist their takeoffs, as they are clumsy in takeoffs and ladings.

Brown Booby pairs or couples are known to stay together for many seasons and they perform elaborate greeting rituals and dance-like movements. These birds nest in large colonies, laying two chalky blue eggs on the ground. They generally breed on islands and coastal plains in the pan-tropical areas of Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean. They frequent the breeding grounds of the islands in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea islands.

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