Monday, April 3, 2017

Boobies - beautiful and bountiful on Ecuador´s coast! Blue-footed boobies, that is #AtoZChallenge

Did you think I was going to talk about some other kind of boobies? I am writing about blue-footed boobies, beautiful birds.

Puerto Lopez, Ecuador, is surrounded by Machalilla National Park, which includes tropical forests, cloud forests, beaches, ocean, and islands. One of the park residents that attracts visitors is the interestingly named blue-footed booby.

I have read that you need to travel to the Galapagos to see blue-footed boobies but that is not accurate. I see them on beaches and cliffs around Puerto Lopez.  They like to hang out on rocky cliffs above the ocean.
Blue-footed boobies on a cliff in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador
One way to guarantee seeing a booby is to hop on a boat and head 17 miles offshore to Isla de la Plata.  The island is home to blue-footed, red-footed and Nazca boobies, but the blue-footed ones are by far the most prevalent.

Baby blue-footed boobies have white feet and are covered in fluffy white fur.
Baby blue-footed booby with parent
Isla de la Plata, Ecuador
Mom or Dad is always nearby until the baby is grown, feathered, and flying after their first year.
Six month old blue-footed booby with parent
Isla de la Plata, Ecuador
(photo courtesy of my mom, Marsha Benson)



They prepare for flying and strengthen their wings by standing near the edge of cliffs with their wings spread while the wind blows.
Young blue-footed booby practicing flight technique
Isla de la Plata, Ecuador
The feet turn blue over time as a byproduct of the nutrients in the fish they eat.
Adult blue-footed boobies
Isla de la Plata, Ecuador

Tour boats leave for Isla de la Plata around 9:00 each morning from the Puerto Lopez pier and return by 4:00.  After a hike around the island, you can go snorkeling with large sea turtles and colorful fish.  Sometimes you will see whales or pods of dolphins on the boat trip between the island and the pier.

In an effort to preserve the island and breeding grounds, a limited number tour companies are licensed by the national park service. Cost per person is $35-$40 depending on the season. Bring water because there are no shops on the island!

32 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I loved learning that from our tour guide!

      Delete
  2. Hi Emily - fascinating to see them - I'd heard about them in New Zealand (via blogging! not visiting sadly!) - but aren't they amazing and that colour is delightful ... cheers Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/b-is-for-british-breeds-introduction.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They really are fascinating! I did not know that they are also in New Zealand. Going to go check out your post about British Breeds.

      Delete
  3. Those blue feet are really something!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love seeing the varying shades of blue in them!

      Delete
  4. They are such funny birds! Also, I love your theme. I am currently reading a collection of folktales from Ecuador for my "folktales around the world" blogging :) I'd love to visit one day...

    The Multicolored Diary: WTF - Weird Things in Folktales

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will go look for those folktales about Ecuador - thanks for letting me know about them.

      Delete
  5. Who couldn't love those boobies! Heidi at, Decibel Memos (Perspectives absent of sound)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know I love them! I am enjoying your blog, too.

      Delete
  6. Our one disappointment when we visited the Galapagos was not seeing any Boobies.

    DB McNicol, author & traveler
    Theme: Oh, the places we will go!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yeah, that would be disappointing. With how many there are on Isla de la Plata, I assumed they would be all over the Galapagos.

      Delete
  7. They are pretty little colorful babies. The pictures are amazing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I appreciate your kind words.

      Delete
  8. So funny. One of my wife's friends who still lives in Ecuador once sent my wife a nightshirt celebrating the boobies. I always tease her when she's wearing her "booby shirt".

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out: It's About Time

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funny! I have seen some shirts like that for sale. Some are really cute.

      Off to check out your blog!

      Delete
  9. I would love to see them in person. My students always revert to 12 year olds when I bring up the boobies and their mating dance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I think that is a fairly common reaction. The mating dance is cool. Hope that you are able to see them in person some day!

      Delete
  10. Let me confess something here: When I saw the title, I thought "Is this safe for work?" Then I read the rest of it :D :D
    Loved the pictures - I'd never heard of these before.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shreesha, I suspect that you were not the only one who had that thought :) Thanks for your kind words - they are cool birds.

      Delete
  11. Beautiful pictures. I actually knew what a blue footed boobie was. You are so lucky to be able to see them.
    Hey, It's Ann visiting from A to Z So Much to Choose From and
    Science Ladybug

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ann. I had never heard of them until I started researching Ecuador.

      Delete
  12. Oh thanks for sharing about these blue footed beauties.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Fantastic, and looks like a fun trip. The thing that strikes me is how very affordable it is! On Maui, a similar snorkeling and boat trip would cost over $100/pp. Maui Jungalow

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The price is the only reason I did not do a boat trip when I visited Maui. Here I go on them a couple of times per year.

      Delete
  14. Just jumping back from your Z post. I wondered what sort of animal had a name like blue-footed boobies. What an interesting bird, and such a pretty blue on their feet.

    Black Widow
    Shari

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are really pretty birds and the babies are absolutely adorable!

      Delete
  15. Pretty feet on very pretty birds! And the nutrients colouring body parts happens to flamingos too - only they turn pink, and not just feet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had no idea about flamingos. I wonder how many other colorful birds are that way due to nutrients. Thanks Nilanjana!

      Delete