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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 09, 2021

21 Amaze-wing Facts About The Nazca Booby For Kids

Nazca booby facts are educational.

The Nazca booby, also known as the Galapagos Nazca, is a medium-large bird that is endemic to the Galapagos Islands, alongside the red-footed, blue-footed, and masked booby. Nazca boobies were complied as a subspecies of the masked booby but eventually were recognized as their own species.  

The red-footed and blue-footed boobies look similar to the Nazca boobies but can be differentiated because of their feet color which are either red and blue, respectively. The gray feet and orange beaks are also used to differentiate these birds when feet are not in view.

Galapagos Nazca is a unique species of bird in its own right and because they are found in desolate locations in the Galapagos Islands, they are safe from humans as there is hardly any human interference in the Galapagos regions.

If you liked these facts about the Nazca booby, then you'll surely like these facts about ruby-crowned kinglet and flamingo too.

Nazca Booby Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Nazca booby?

The Nazca booby is a medium-large-sized bird that is endemic to the Galapagos archipelago. These birds belong to the booby species and were for a long period of time considered a subspecies of the masked booby before being recognized as a separate species. These birds are often seen flying over the ocean and sea surrounding the Galapagos Islands.

What class of animal does a Nazca booby belong to?

The Nazca booby (Sula granti) belongs to the Aves class of animals.

How many Nazca boobies are there in the world?

As of now, the population count of the Nazca booby is estimated at approximately 24,000-50,000 individuals on the Malpelo Island in the eastern Pacific Ocean which is about 310 mi (499 km) west of Colombia, a country in South America.

Galapagos Nazca birds can also be found in a large population in the Galapagos Islands and Plata Island in Ecuador.

Where does a Nazca booby live?

Since the diet of the Nazca booby is entirely made up of marine life, these birds can be seen on rocky cliffs and seashores, preying on flying fish and squids. Females, in some cases, dive deeper than the males and catch larger fish.

The Nazca booby is most often found in the islands surrounded by the eastern Pacific Ocean which includes Baja California, Isla de la Plata in Ecuador, Malpelo Island in Colombia, and the Galapagos Islands where this booby species gathers during the mating season.

What is a Nazca booby's habitat?

The Nazca booby species is a strictly marine and pelagic bird. Nazca boobies, when foraging the waters for fish, prefer to dive deeper than other boobies like masked boobies, red-footed, and blue-footed boobies. The colony of Nazca boobies also feeds further than that of the aforementioned booby birds.

Nazca boobies cannot take off in flight straight from the land, so they prefer to stay at the feet of rocky cliffs on the Galapagos Islands where they can take off easily.

Who do Nazca boobies live with?

Nazca boobies are normally seen alone or can exist in small groups of males, females, juveniles, and chicks.

These birds can often be seen together in large groups during the breeding season when the males and females come together to mate with each other. Nazca boobies can also be seen in large flocks when they are foraging the waters for food.

How long does a Nazca booby live?

In the wild, Nazca boobies, like most other seabirds, have an average lifespan of 21-23 years which in some cases is extended to 25 years. Their lifespan in captivity has not been recorded.

How do they reproduce?

Nazca boobies reach sexual maturity when they are three to four years old, and much like their cousins the red-footed and blue-footed boobies, form monogamous pairs and mate for life. However, it is not certain that this bond will last because if either males or females do not show up during the breeding period, the individual will mate with another Nazca booby. Home-wrecking is another unique behavior in this species of birds where a Nazca booby will destroy the nest made by another couple.

Males usually perform a dance in front of the female as a courtship behavior and if the female is receptive, she will allow the male to mate with her.

Nazca boobies build ground nests and most of the nesting is done near the feet of cliffs on volcanic islands.

What is their conservation status?

Currently, Nazca boobies are not endangered as they are listed as a Least Concern species on the IUCN Red List due to them being in abundance in Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, Colombia, and other parts of the eastern Pacific Ocean region. They are not facing any immediate risk.

Nazca Booby Fun Facts

What do Nazca boobies look like?

The Nazca booby is the largest species of boobies that are found breeding on the Galapagos Islands. Nazca boobies are white and their wings are brown-black in color. The bill of these birds is either orange or yellow, with gray feet and black around their eyes which looks like a mask. This mask is the reason why people often confuse the Nazca booby with the masked booby or even the brown booby.

Sexual dimorphism can be seen in these birds as female Nazca boobies are larger than the males and have a yellow or orange bill, but a female bird is paler in comparison to the male.

Discover interesting information about the Nazca booby bird.

How cute are they?

Unlike ducks, these birds are not really cute as they are large and goofy looking. The black pattern on their eyes makes it look like they are wearing a mask on their face.

Nazca booby chicks might be cute to look at but if we were to judge by their behavior, they are not! The chicks of Nazca boobies perform a habit called obligate siblicide. Usually, the female Nazca lays two eggs during the mating season and these two eggs are laid in a gap of three to 10 days. In this case, the first chick that hatches gets more time in the nest than the second chick. Once the second chick hatches, the first chick, who is the stronger of the two, will show aggressive behavior towards the younger chick and hurt it or in some cases, throw it down the nest which results in the death of the younger, weaker chick. This process or habit practiced by the elder sibling is called obligate siblicide and neither parent will intervene.

How do they communicate?

The Nazca booby bird, or the Galapagos Nazca, communicates with each other through loud calls which are mostly used to thwart off predators or trespassers. The male will perform a special dance to impress females during the mating season.

How big is a Nazca booby ?

The Galapagos Nazca is the largest of the Nazca booby subspecies found on the Galapagos Islands. A full-grown adult Nazca booby grows up to 30-35 in (762-89 cm) in length and its wings can stretch up to 68 in (173 cm) in wingspan. In comparison, the smallest booby, the red-footed booby, is much smaller than this bird.

How fast can a Nazca booby fly?

Not much is known about the flight speed of this bird species, however, it is known that this bird can dive into the water at a speed of about 60 mph (97 kph) to catch fish.

How much does a Nazca booby weigh?

A full-grown Nazca booby weighs 3-5 lb (1.3-2.3 kg). They are much bulkier than harlequin ducks.

What are the male and female names of the species?

A male and female Nazca booby is called a cock and a hen, respectively.

What would you call a baby Nazca booby?

A baby Nazca booby, like most other bird babies, is called a chick.

What do they eat?

A large part of the food diet of the Galapagos Nazca is made up of flying fish. These birds also eat squids, anchovies, sardines, and the parents feed the young chick their food.

Are they dangerous?

These birds are not dangerous to humans, but they are aggressive towards one another when they are defending their nesting sites.

Would they make a good pet?

Nazca boobies or the Galapagos Nazca, are wild seabirds and have not been domesticated. There is little to no data on them being pets.

Did you know...

Blue-footed boobies, the relatives of the Galapagos Nazca, do a courtship dance when they form a pair. This courtship can also be seen in the Galapagos Nazca.

Nazca boobies do not have many predators, but the vampire finch is one of them. Vampire finches drink the blood of the Nazca boobies as it pretends to eat parasites off the body of the Nazca booby.

Obligate siblicide is not something that the chicks learn in the eggs or when they hatch, it is a natural habit. Due to siblicide, the population of these birds is controlled as out of two eggs, only one chick will survive.

To escape predators, boobies dive into the water.

Nazca boobies are named for their clumsy walk on the ground as the word 'booby' comes from the Spanish word 'bobo' which means 'clown' or 'foolish'.

How many eggs does a Nazca booby lay?

Galapagos Nazca boobies lay one to two eggs in each breeding season which is in a gap of nine months. This can vary depending on the location of the colony. The eggs are white and have light brown specks on them.

Both parents will take turns in incubating the eggs for a period of about 30-40 days with their large webbed feet as they do not brood like other birds. Due to the aforementioned siblicide, only one chick out of the two will survive as food resources in the nesting areas are scarce.

Do nazca booby migrate?

No, the Galapagos Nazca does not migrate. However, most parents do move around a lot in search of food and nesting spots to make nests to lay their eggs in.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our hummingbird facts and palm warbler facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable nazca booby coloring pages.

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