Masked Booby

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Common Name: Masked Booby
Scientific Name: Sula dactylatra

Size: 29-34 inches (74-86 cm)

Habitat: Tropical Oceans; from the Caribbean, across the Pacific Ocean, to Hawaii, Australia, and Indonesia-- a rare visitor to the United States.

Status: Not threatened. At least some mortality from tangling in fishing gear, but this problem is not known to be significant. Probably has frequent interactions with purse-seining tuna fisheries, as the fisheries often use Masked Boobies and other seabirds to locate tuna schools, but no data exist.

Diet: Fish and squid. Plunge-dives from various heights up to 30 meters (100 feet) into schools of fish.

Nesting: Sexes are similar. Female slightly larger. Nests are a slight depression on ground, surrounded by circle of pebbles or other debris, often near a breezy cliff edge or other take-off feature. One to two light blue eggs are laid. Although the Masked Booby regularly lays two eggs, it never raises two young. The first egg is laid four to nine days before the second, and the older chick always ejects the second from the nest. The parents do not protect or feed the ejected chick, and it is quickly scavenged by a host of associated crabs, landbirds, and frigatebirds

Cool Facts: The population of Masked Boobies breeding along the Pacific Coast of northern South America, including the Galapagos, was recently recognized as a separate species, the Nazca Booby. The Nazca Booby has an orange, not yellow, bill and is smaller with a significantly shorter, shallower bill. Whereas the Masked Booby usually nests on low, flat areas, the Nazca Booby uses cliffs and steep slopes.

Found in Songbird ReMix Australia Volume III

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