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Red-footed booby

Red-footed booby
© Laura Percy

Common name:

Red-footed booby

Scientific name:

Sula sula

Spanish name:

Piquero de patas rojas

Conservation status:

Least Concern


Average lifespan:

22 years

Average size:

70 centimetres

Maximum size:

76 centimetres / 1 metre (Wingspan)

Maximum weight:

1 kilogram


Red-footed boobies are found throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. They are one of three species of booby found in Galapagos and their name comes from the Spanish word ‘bobo’, meaning foolish or clown – referring to their clumsy movement on land.  

They are the smallest of all booby species. They have distinctive red legs and feet, and a pale blue bill, but, unusually, they exist in several colour variations. The brown morph, most commonly seen in Galapagos, is predominantly brown with a white belly, rump and tail. The white morph is predominantly white with black on the flight feathers. The black-tailed white morph is similar, but with a black tail, and can easily be confused with the Nazca and masked boobies who also inhabit the Archipelago. Juveniles are usually brown or blackish-grey with a black bill and grey legs. Females and males look the same, but females are usually larger than males, though males can have a longer tail.

Red-footed boobies in Galapagos

Galapagos Boobies Collection

Support our vital conservation work and celebrate three of the most iconic bird species in Galapagos: the blue-footed, red-footed and Nazca booby.

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