BLOG 2 by Galapagos Prestige Travel

NAZCA BOOBY (Sula granti)




How amazing is to mention that birds or animals in general, because of what they eat , they are  going to use some pigments in order to clear the way they look like , to clear their health, to say hey ! “I am doing ok” and just by watching the colour of the member , you will understand that’s a kind of match. They need it in their life in order to have babies , so birds they do that and this a time when I will talk a little bit about NAZCA BOOBIES

NAZCA BOOBY is a large seabird of the booby family, Sulidae, native to the eastern Pacific. It has typical sulid body shape, with a long pointed orange-yellow bill, long neck, aerodynamic body, long slender wings and pointed tail. The adult is bright white with black and white wings, a black tail and a dark face mask. Before the year 2000 , the largest out of the three booby species and arguably the most handsome, Nazca boobies were called Galapagos masked boobies because of the colour of their face , of their black feathers – it looks like a mask- like a batman mask. So because of that we have right now as this bird has evolved and they have changed the colour of the beak . Can you imagine the beak of the bird has a thin layer of keratin called Rhamphotheca (Ranfoteca in Spanish) , so this basically has changed or let’s say mutated to a new colour that is what happens today with – which is pretty amazing-  with the colour of the beak which was before yellow and later moved to golden colour. So this is very interesting situation here. Not only  that and this bird which is really big in size, is always looking for the islands that are very remote. Because they are very remote, because are far away these islands can provide to the birds a kind of a stationary islands, where they can stand up and they can wait for strong currents to bring large amount of new fish into the area.  Where there will be a time for the bird to take off and they want to take off from the place where the cliff is and with the help of the wind to fly through the area. Nazca Boobies are only eating at night or very late afternoon but you have to see their eyes , they have this fantastic keratin in their eyes which shows them how nicely yellow they are. It’s so amazing ! During the breeding season they lay 2 eggs rather than 1  but not both at the same time. It’s very important to mention this and because of that the second egg appears between 5 and 10 days after the first egg. But Mama and Papa are going to be extremely careful to select the best behavioural baby (stronger and larger) and if it will be a high energy baby, it’s going to be a perfect candidate in order to choose it and to feed it. This unusual process it’s called obligate siblicide and it is common for only one of the chicks to survive. Usually the chick that hatches first is bigger and becomes aggressive towards its sibling, excluding it from feeding and eventually starving it. In this particular species, the first chick is born around 5 days before the second is born. It drags its younger sibling out of the nest. Field experiments in the Galapagos demonstrated that the boobies can manage to feed two chicks without too much difficulty. This raises question as to the origin of the phenomenon.

The Nazca Boobies population on the Galapagos Islands is approximately between 40 and 50 000 members and it has several mutations around the world. And the Galapagos specie is called Galapagos martai. Between the continent and the Archipelago of Galapagos , the Galapagos Booby is always flying  and like usual with the Humboldt current they are looking for a place to nest and food which is provided by flying fish  (among others).  They nest near cliffs on bare ground with little to no vegetation. Please remember Nazca Booby is eating at night and that’s why this fantastic fish is providing them a great food over the Northern Islands (north of the Equateur). They preys on small fish caught by diving at high speed from flight into the ocean. The main food species is South American pilchard, mentioned already flying fish, anchovies and squids. Because of their sexual dimorphism, females tend to feed on bigger prey and dive deeper. And they do it precisely at night and thanks to such adaptation they can avoid or to have less competition with other boobies birds. They have to be very successful in flying and diving efficiently with a particular eyes capacity of much better vision at night conditions (with very limited presence of the light). Similar characteristic can be observed with swallowed tailed gulls, red footed boobies, frigate birds , pelicans but also with such land birds as hawks, or doves. Like may other seabirds, Nazca boobies have a long lifespan, living up to 25 years. You can see Nazca boobies in the Galapagos pretty much all year round. They’re often seen flying, but if you want to see them on land , the best places are Punta Pitt (on San Cristobal Island), Punta Suarez (on Española Island), or on Genovesa Island. There are three types of boobies in the Galapagos (out of six in the world): blue footed (Sula nebouxi) red-footed (Sula sula) and Nazca boobies (Sula granti).