The blue-footed booby is a rather unusual bird. The origin of its name is strange enough: booby actually stems from the Spanish word bobo, which means “stupid.” If you ask me, most birds (except for ravens—they’re just cool) are pretty dumb, so this comes as no surprise. Two hummingbirds have actually gotten themselves trapped near the ceiling of my back porch even with a door standing wide open. It took hours to lure them back outside.
Like I said: dumb.
As for the blue-footed portion of their name, well, they’ve actually got bright blue feet. Secret’s in the name, am I right? If it wasn’t for those same bright blue feet, most of us wouldn’t have ever heard of them. Oddly enough, this turns out to be a byproduct of their mating rituals. The brighter the feet, the younger and more virile the male. Females’ feet are already a bit darker and duller, but the same rules apply. When it comes to deciding upon a new mate, the female watches as males wave their feet in their faces. Who would have thought that blue feet could have a purpose, much less such a specific one? Weird.
There is more to the blue-footed booby than their feet, however. For instance, about half their population resides on the Galapagos Islands, so you know they’re strange. Also, they lay more than one egg each mating season, which is unusual for a booby. They give most of their resources to the first hatchling, though, so apparently the younger offspring is only there to ensure survival. I bet that makes for a cheerful Mother’s Day card. “Thanks, Mom, for feeding me when my big brother was full, and for just standing there when he did his best to peck me to death. Love, Bob.”
All these facts aside, I should probably admit that this is my favorite animal. Not for the reasons one might think—there are tons of other species out there that are smarter (this includes ravens, tigers, and dolphins), prettier (peacocks and owls obviously), stranger (the platypus pretty much wiped the floor with this category), and cuter (red pandas, kittens, and really anything fluffy are cued here). Nope, I love this animal simply because I love saying its name.
I dare you to say blue-footed booby without cracking a smile. Seriously—do it.
You can’t, can you?
And that’s why I love the blue-footed booby.
Photo from factzoo