Class Aves OR: Class Archosauromorpha
Sublcass Neornithes OR: Subclass Dinosauria,
A family of 3 genera and 10 species of tropical seabirds, known variously
as "gannets" and "boobies". All species are pelagic,
meaning they stay at sea most of the time, and come ashore only to breed
(in the list below, approximate breeding ranges are given).
All species resemble pelicans, and hunt by dive-bombing for fish.
The different species, filling the same evolutionary niche, resemble
each other very closely in form, but they can be differentiated by color:
the color of their bills, the color of their plumage, and especially the
color of their webbed feet. Viewers of television nature programs
will recognize the Blue-footed booby, a well known colonizer of the Galapagos
Islands off Ecuador.
Boobies get their name from the Spanish word bobo, meaning "stupid".
They earned this name in the same way as the dodo, by having no known
predators and no fear of humans when they were first encountered by the
Spanish. Unlike dodoes, most species have a wide distribution, and
are in no danger of extinction.
S. dactylara (Masked Booby) (tropics, worldwide
S. granti (Nazca Booby) (Galapagos Islands, Malpelo
S. leucogaster (Brown Booby or White-bellied Booby) (Carribean,
Eastern Paciifc, Indian Ocean, Hawaii)
S. nebouxii (Blue-footed Booby) (Channel Islands,
Pacific coast of Mexico through Panama, Galapagos Islands)
S. sula (Red-Footed Booby) (Carribean, South Paciifc,
Indian Ocean, Hawaii)
S. variegata (Peruvian Booby) (West coast of South
Animal Diversity Web, University of Michigan