Fun Masked Booby Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Masked Booby Facts For Kids

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The masked booby (Sula dactylatra) is a spectacular white and black tropical seabird that is found in different places around the world. This bird is also known as the blue-faced booby or the masked gannet. Its body is predominantly covered in white feathers except for the black color seen in its wings and tail. As it lives near the sea, booby birds have a long pointed yellow bill that helps them dive deep into the waters to catch flying fish. It also has webbed feet that are perfect for living near water. These birds are known for forming exceptionally large breeding colonies where the elders take good care of the young. The adult female lays around one or two eggs, and the nesting is done in a place that is out of reach for most animals. Masked boobies are also the largest variant of boobies, and they live to 20 years of age. These birds mostly spend their time near the sea searching for food, and mainly come towards the ground during the breeding season. In the U.S, these birds can be seen in some Hawaiian island regions and sometimes in Florida.

Find the species interesting? Keep reading to know more intriguing masked booby facts. Also, check out the articles on the red-footed booby and blue-footed booby bird for more information on this species of birds.

Fun Masked Booby Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Fish, squid, and mollusks

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

1-2 eggs

How much do they weigh?

2.6-4.9 lb (1.2-2.2 kg)

How long are they?

30-33 in (76-84 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

White and black

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Feral Cats, Silver Gulls, Buff-banded Rails, And Green Sea Turtles

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Islands And Edges Of Cliffs


North And South America, Atlantic And Pacific Oceans









Masked Booby Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a masked booby?

The masked booby (Sula dactylatra) is a type of seabird present widely around the world.

What class of animal does a masked booby belong to?

The masked booby belongs to the class Aves, the family Sulidae, and the genus Sula.

How many masked boobies are there in the world?

This species is described as one of the most common seabird breeds, so it is pretty hard to note its exact population.

Where does a masked booby live?

The masked booby (Sula dactylatra) bird is found globally, especially in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Even though these birds aren't widely found around the United States, some populations are found in the Hawaiian colonies and islands of Lehua, Moku Manu, and Kaula. Hence, it cannot be called a North American bird. As a tropical seabird, it is seen around tropic-based areas like the Yucatan peninsula and South America. Some populations are also found in islands near Indonesia and Australia. It is noted that masked boobies are mainly found on islands that range between 30°N and 30°S. Though rarely, these birds can also be spotted in some U.S Gulf states like Louisiana, Texas, and Florida. This bird isn't considered endemic to a particular area.

What is a masked booby's habitat?

The masked booby is mainly found in the open ocean, and it only comes to land to seek suitable breeding grounds. It prefers to nest and live in areas like on islands and edges of cliffs that are away from the presence of other animals.

Who does a masked booby live with?

Not much is known about the living pattern of masked boobies aside from their breeding habits. These birds form large colonies during the breeding season, and each one may contain up to 200 birds creating nests with shallow depression. These birds also return to the same site year after year to breed with its mate. These birds often prey with other species like the white-bellied storm petrel and Bulwer's petrel in their habitat.

How long does a masked booby live?

Masked boobies are known for having long age ranges, and they can manage to live to 20 years of age.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding time of masked boobies depends on their geographical location and habitat. These birds are monogamous in nature, and they breed and nest with the same partner for several years. Nesting usually takes place in large colonies, and the birds may travel to distant locations in search of a suitable island or nesting place. Some birds will also nest in the same areas as the parents. The nests are created by parents in shallow depression with the help of its webbed feet, and the female lays one to two eggs. The breeding grounds are generally on an island or on high cliffs.

Both parents incubate the eggs. While the parents incubate the eggs, the first egg may hatch nine days before the second egg. The first egg can be laid four to nine days before the second egg. Incubating the egg takes around 43 days. The parents are known to be agnostic and territorial, and they may be aggressive towards other members of the colonies. The young chick is born without any feathers. As the chick grows, the head, tail, wing, and body are covered in brown feathers. It may take a young chick three to five years to become sexually matured and start its own family.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, the masked booby currently has a status of Least Concern, and these birds aren't endangered.

Masked Booby Fun Facts

What does a masked booby look like?

The masked booby gets its name from the dark mask present in front of its face. Apart from the dark black mask, this bird also has black feathers on its dark black tail and its wing. The beauty of its wings is seen when the bird is in flight. The rest of the body is covered in white feathers. These birds also have a long pointed yellow bill which helps it when diving deep into the open ocean to catch flying fish or other fishes. Close to the bill, you can also notice its bright yellow eyes and the black mask present on its face. As a seabird that lives near the ocean, it does have webbed feet. Even though males and females have similar plumage, the females tend to be slightly larger.

A young chick usually has brown feathers on its wings as well as on its brown head, giving it a similar look to that of northern gannets. It may take a young chick four years before it starts looking like an adult masked booby.

Masked booby facts are a great read for kids.

How cute are they?

Just like the brown booby, the masked booby looks cute because of its neat plumage and compact look.

How do they communicate?

The female and males have different calls, as the males have a high-pitched whistling call while the female bird has a honky call. Even though these birds are fairly silent, the males are mostly known for calling during the mating season to court the females. The males also make noise when it feels threatened, while females only call to alarm others.

How big is a masked booby?

The average body length range of a masked booby is around 30–33 in (76–84 cm), making it the largest among other boobies. The red-footed booby attains an average body length range of around 27.2-31.1 in (69-78.9 cm), making both species closer in size to the red-footed booby.

How fast can a masked booby fly?

Along with being great divers, the masked booby is also known for its flying capacity. Adult birds can easily attain a flying speed of 43 mph (69.2 kph) and fly at a height range of up to 23 ft (7 m) above the ocean.

How much does a masked booby weigh?

The average weight of a masked booby is around the range of 2.6-4.9 lb (1.2–2.2 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no separate names for the male and female birds of this species.

What would you call a baby masked booby?

Masked boobies that are young are often referred to as chicks.

What do they eat?

Masked Boobies are carnivorous in nature, and they are known for their diving and hunting style. These birds mainly rely on different types of fish and have an affinity for flying fish. These birds can often be seen above the open ocean searching for food, and this species has the ability to dive to a depth of 330 ft (100.5 m). Along with fish, masked boobies also rely on cephalopods as a major food source.

Some other fish and marine animals eaten by these birds include yellowtail amberjack, skipjack tuna, mackerel scad, pompano dolphinfish, mahi-mahi, brown chub, red barred hawkfish, snake mackerel, mullet, and purple-black flying squid.

Are they dangerous?

No, masked boobies aren't dangerous for humans. Most of these birds stay and make nests in areas and on islands that are away from the interference of humans. However, if you happen to be in front of a masked booby, it's always better to stay away from irritating it.

Would they make a good pet?

No, this species is not meant to be a household pet.

Did you know...

Blue-masked booby parents have virtually no predators as they live in hard to find places and make colonies in such areas. However, the eggs are commonly eaten or destroyed by silver gulls, buff-banded rails, feral cats, and green sea turtles.

The first bird chick can often chick out the second chick from the nest.

The Nazca booby was first a subspecies of the masked booby.

What is the wingspan of a msked booby?

The average wingspan of a masked booby is around 59.8 in (152 cm).

Do masked boobies migrate?

The masked booby is not regarded as a migrating bird. However, this tropical species is widespread around different parts of the world, especially in the Pacific, and some have been spotted yearly in countries like India. It has been noted that some masked boobies travel over 1000 mi (1690 km) from the places where they breed.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these white woodpecker and white-bellied parrots for kids.

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

Written By
Moumita Dutta

<p>A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.</p>

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