Blue-footed boobies are unique-looking marine birds. They are known for their bright blue feet, which actually serve many purposes in their lives.
But, you may be thinking: I’ve never seen one of these birds, does this mean the blue-footed booby is extinct?
Read on to find out!
Is the Blue-Footed Booby Extinct?
So, is the blue-footed booby extinct? Well, the answer to this question might be a little more complex than you expected.
Currently, blue-footed boobies are listed as a species of the least concern for extinction; however, populations in the Galapagos islands say otherwise.
In April 2014, a project was completed revealing that populations of blue-footed boobies are in fact declining at a slow rate in the Galapagos islands.
The reason for this decline is the issue of breeding. Apparently, blue-footed boobies in this region are having difficulty reproducing, resulting in fewer offspring. Interestingly, the process of blue-footed booby reproduction is not exactly fool proof.
More specifically, though these birds typically lay about two to three eggs, only one to two chicks usually hatch from this group.
Further, male blue-footed boobies are usually responsible for providing food and keeping the eggs warm for part of the incubation period.
However, males do not always take on these responsibilities after the eggs have been laid or hatched. This is because larger eggs typically indicate the female has better reproductive abilities.
In turn, male blue-footed boobies will sometimes neglect smaller eggs as this female may not be as valuable when it comes to reproduction.
As you can imagine, this already puts stress on the population of blue-footed boobies, so added factors only make the situation worse.
Additionally, in Galapagos islands, there seems to be a shortage of sardines, an integral part of the blue-footed booby diet.
Due to the fact that the feet of the blue-footed booby get their color from their diet and the color of their feet impacts their ability to reproduce, this is a huge issue.
In other words, if sardine populations continue to decrease so will blue-footed booby populations.
Though this project provides clear numbers that blue-footed booby populations are declining, there needs to be more data to determine whether or not these birds are really at risk.
Many animal populations fluctuate or ebb and flow naturally due to the relationship between predators and prey, as well as environmental factors.
Simply put, annual research will ensure this is not simply a fluke.
In conclusion, while blue-footed boobies are not considered to be endangered and are not extinct, they may be at risk of falling into one of these groups sometime in the near future.
Without proper data, it is hard to tell for sure whether or not we should be concerned about blue-footed boobies.
However, it is clear that the reproduction process of these birds is vital to the species’ ability to thrive and must therefore be preserved.
For now, it seems there is no need to be seriously concerned about the blue-footed booby, but only time will tell.