Why Are Blue-Footed Boobies’ Feet Blue?

You have always seen a bird with brown, white, or black colored feet flying over your head. But did you see a bird with blue feet? No? Well, one of the most popular and fascinating birds living on the Galapagos Island is the Blue-Footed Boobies. The bird looks like a cartoon character having blue-colored feet. The feet’ bright bluish color is the unique feature that attracts tourists to the Galapagos Island. Scroll down to know the mystery behind their blue-colored feet.

Who Are Blue-Footed Boobies?

The Blue-Footed Boobies belong to a class Aves and are scientifically named Sula nebouxii. The Blue-Footed Boobies are marine birds living in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Galapagos Islands, the Gulf of California, and the Eastern coast of the Pacific Ocean. They are about 32 inches or 81 cm in length and are approximately 3 pounds or 1.5 kg weigh. They have wings brown in color but the feet of this remarkable bird are blue colored.

Why Are Blue-Footed Boobies’ Feet Blue?

The Blue-Footed Boobies are not born with blue feet. Their diet is the main factor that turns their feet blue. Amazingly, they feed on the stuff which contains a high concentration of carotenoid – the pigment turns their feet blue. Usually, they feed on fishes that contain a high amount of carotenoids, the more they intake carotenoids, the bluer are their feet.

Do Carotenoids Boost The Immune System Of The Blue-Footed Boobies?

As we all know that carotenoids have antioxidant properties which help to boost the immune system. However, in the case of Blue-Footed Boobies, the carotenoids are only stored in their feet indicating their health and strength of them. The blue feet help the boobies to attract the opposite mate but do not play any role in increasing immunity.   

How Do Blue Feet Help The Blue-Footed Boobies To Attract The Mate?

During the breeding season, the males display their wings, circle around the females, and give a long whistle call indicating their willingness for mating. The female, in turn, chooses the mate depending on the color of the feet. The more the feet of the male is blue, the more the females lure them. Once they choose their mate, the boobies will do a couple of dances by lifting their feet and walking side by side.

How The Male And Female Boobies Can Be Distinguished?

Well, certain features distinguish the male and female boobies. The females are quite largerand have bluer feet than the males. Moreover, the males have small and rounded pupils whereas the pupils of females are larger and star-shaped.

Final Words

One of the most popular Aves living around the globe but commonly in the Galapagos Island is the Blue-Footed Boobies. The species have gained people’s attention because of their blue feet. The reason behind their bluish feet is that they intake food that is rich in carotenoids, this pigment is stored in their feet resulting in changing their color to blue. Moreover, the blue feet of the Blue-Footed Boobies indicate the strength and healthiness of the bird.

About the author


I am a Scholar and a dedicated content writer. I am on a mission to stamp out the importance of one of the ocean's most fascinating and remarkable creatures, the sharks, and to let people know about their role in keeping the ecosystem in equilibrium.