Quirks & Quarks

Blue-footed Boobies Endangered in Galapagos

Blue-footed Boobies are not breeding because the sardines that fuel their reproduction are in short supply....

Blue-footed Boobies are not breeding because the sardines that fuel their reproduction are in short supply.

The Blue-footed Booby is a sea bird found in the eastern tropical Pacific, including the Galapagos Islands. In 1997, it was first observed that breeding colonies there were empty. In fact, it is estimated that the booby population has decreased by 50 percent in the last 20 years. Around the same time, sardine populations in the Galapagos and other places around the world disappeared, possibly due to a cyclical decline that lasts for decades. Dr. Dave Anderson, a Professor of Biology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has studied the boobies and found that successful breeding is dependant on an almost exclusive diet of the nutritious and easy to find sardine. The concern now is that even when the sardines return, it will be too late for the ageing population of blue-footed boobies to breed again.

Related Links

  • Paper in Avian Conservation & Ecology
  • Wake Forest University release
  • Scientific American blog

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