Wednesday, September 28, 2011

#71 What's in a Name? Booby

Boobies are pelagic seabirds associated with tropical warm waters. There are several species, that can be found within United States waters - Masked, Blue-footed, Red-footed and Brown, which has yellow feet.

We recently had a Brown Booby Sula leucogaster along the New Jersey coast, this being well north of its range.

The name Booby comes from the Spanish "bobo" for stupid. On the nesting grounds boobies were considered stupid or "boobies" for acting / walking awkwardly on land, as well as for just hanging around when sailors came to harvest them for food.

The scientific name Sula comes from the Icelandic for foolish or awkward person, while leucogaster is from the Greek "leukos" for the color white and "gaster" meaning belly, as noted on the adult Brown Booby.
photo © adrian binns

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