American Oceans
Close up of Blue-footed Booby feet

Why Are Blue-Footed Boobies’ Feet Blue?

Have you ever heard of the blue-footed booby? Just like you may have imagined, these creatures have bright blue feet. 

So, why are blue-footed boobies’ feet blue? Read on to find out plus more about these eccentric-looking animals!

What Are Blue-Footed Boobies?

Alright, so what are blue-footed boobies in the first place? Blue-footed boobies are actually a species of marine bird! 

These birds belong to a genus known as Sula, under which all species are labeled as boobies. 

You may have put two and two together here, but these birds got their name for the color of their feet and the classification of their genus. 

Why Are Blue-Footed Boobies Feet Blue?

Blue-footed booby scratches head with foot

Now that we know what blue-footed boobies are, what causes their anatomy to have such a vibrant and unique hue?

Well, this is actually for a few reasons. First and foremost, the diet of the blue-footed booby is responsible for the bright blue color presented on these birds’ feet. 

More specifically, the fresh fish blue-footed boobies consume contain a pigment known as carotenoids. 

This pigment is responsible for acting as an antioxidant and keeping the immune system of the bird up and running. 

Surprisingly, if a blue-footed booby is deprived of this pigment through lack of food for even 48 hours, their feet will appear less vibrant and blue.

As a result, this means their feet can indicate their health and nourishment levels at any given time. 

Additionally, the feet of the blue-footed booby play a role in the reproduction process of these birds. 

Precisely, these birds will often choose mates based on the color of their feet due to the many things this color can indicate. 

When it comes to males, younger blue-footed boobies usually have brighter feet and higher fertility, so females will often choose birds with these traits. 

It has been found that even after choosing a mate, females will continue to check the color of their mate’s feet to make sure they are still in optimal health. 

On the other hand, when looking for a mate, males will showcase their feet by lifting them up and down in front of the females.

Blue-footed boobies performing mating dance

Males also choose a mate based on feet color but will additionally choose whether or not to be attentive to their eggs after reproduction, based on their size.

Larger blue-footed booby eggs are more likely to receive attention from the males.

A Foot of Many Purposes

After learning about the feet of blue-footed boobies, you may be left surprised by the many roles these body parts play in the health and well-being of the animal.

Though they may be pretty to look at and are certainly one-of-a-kind, the feet of the blue-footed booby are vital to the health and reproduction of these animals.

Blue-footed boobies are definitely interesting animals that proudly showcase their health and look to their feet for the unknowns.

Although, the next time you see your feet, don’t go looking for any answers. 

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