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Blue Footed Booby Mating Dance

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Blue-Footed Booby

The Blue-Footed Boobies of the Glapagos Islands were first named by spanish sailors.  The word bobo in spanish means "clown" which evolved into the word "booby" slang for "stupid."  

With no natural predators exisitng on the boobie's island home, spanish sailors found these birds to be so approachable that they were easily killed.  To add to their name, the boobies large webbed feet make them klutzy walking on land and even clumsier during flight take off where their wings often touch the ground before becoming airborn.

Charles Darwin saw boobies in a different light.  He saw that the boobie's large, awkward, webbed feet may look stupid on land but they were a key evolutioary adaptation to the water.  Their feet serve as propellers while hunting fish in the water.  The boobies' bodies also display an evolutionary adaptation that streamline them for the sky, shaped like a torpedo for reducing friction.  The birds also adapted to their salty environment by developling glands that keep themevles waterproof as well as lowering salt levels taken into the body.  

Not so stupid after all.....


Campbell, N.A., Reece, J.B., Taylor, M.R., & Simon, E.J. (2006). Biology: Concepts & Connections. 5th ed. San Francisco, CA: Pearsons Education Inc.