Blue-footed boobies diving in Galapagos is serious business. These magnificent creatures are capable of diving up to a remarkable depth of 90 meters (100 feet) under the sea to catch their prey! In this blog, we invite you to find out the magical mechanism that’s in their bodies which allows them to do it!
The diet of blue-footed boobies primarily consists of fish, meaning guests might even be lucky enough to spot them fishing near the Santa Cruz II Galapagos cruise in addition to seeing them ambling around on each island. They tend to focus on small fish that ravel in schools, such as sardines, anchovies, mackerel and even flying fish.
These beautiful birds are impressively skillful with just how fast and precise they are with their hunting tactics, making blue-footed boobies diving in Galapagos an incredible sight to witness. They will either opt to hunt by themselves, in pairs or as part of a large hunting flock. Lead birds serve as the “spotters” that will then signal to the others that he/she has spotted a considerable group of fish in the water. Once given the signal, the lead booby’s companion or group will dive down together towards the specific spot in the water. Their impact and descending speed makes it look like a volley of arrows when they hit the water.
Blue-footed boobies diving in Galapagos can occur at speeds of up to 97 kilometers/hour (60 mph) from anywhere between 10-30.5 meters (33-100 feet) over the surface of the water, occasionally even from 100 meters (330 feet) over the water. To help soften the blow of this impact at such high speeds, blue-footed boobies have evolved to have special air sacs situated within their skulls that help to protect their brains from the impact and enormous pressure that results from diving so deep under the ocean (90 meters / 100 feet). Should they be successful in catching something underwater, the blue-footed will eat its prey while underwater.
An interesting distinction worth noting between male and female blue-footed boobies is the fact that males have a smaller body size but larger tails, allowing them to fish in shallower areas in addition to deep water. Females, on the other hand, have a larger body size that allows them to carry more food in a single period (for their young, typically).
Blue-footed boobies diving in Galapagos is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to seeing these birds display some mesmerizing and unique behavior in the bird kingdom. Their iconic blue-feet are often waved around during their comically amusing courtship display which you are more than likely to get to see when you visit the archipelago. Make sure to make the blue-footed booby in Galapagos is a part of your visit to be able to check it off your BIG15 list of iconic species in Galapagos!