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Masked Booby

MASKED BOOBY

APPEARANCE AND IDENTIFICATION

29-33 inches. The largest of its category. It is a large bird with a powerful beak, a slender body, long narrow wings and a wedge-shaped tail. The beak is bright yellow for the male and yellow-green for the female. Both sexes have a black mask around the eyes (yellow) and beak. The rest of the body is white, except for the flight feathers and tail feathers which are black. Juveniles have the head, neck and top of the wings going from black to brown. For the sub adult, the dark colour of the neck, covert feathers fades in light brown spots.

Order: Suliformes

Family: Sulidae

Category: Seabirds


LOCATION

Common in all tropical and subtropical seas. In Polynesia, it is present in Mopelia in the Society Islands. It has a wide distribution in the Marquesas and the Tuamotus.


CHARACTERISTICS

Islands and islets (volcanic or coral) on isolated or uninhabited sites.

The female quacks like ducks, the male emits a mild ringing or quacking close to that of females.

To listen the Masked Booby:
http://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Sula-dactylatra

Flying fish and cephalopods. Hunting solitarily. This species is able to dive more than 100 meters deep, wings folded, in order to go capture a prey in the depths.

Nests on the ground (often on the beach) in windy locations. Breeds all year in scattered colonies. Nests are always spaced ten meters away from each other. The reproductive cycle is studied outside French Polynesia. One or two blue chalk eggs, 63-65 x 43-45 mm, are laid to 6 days apart. If both eggs hatch, only the firstborn (bigger and hogging all the food) survives. The second egg acts as a safety in case the first egg did not hatch. Incubation varies from 42 to 46 days. The young fledges on the 4th month.

Original text by Caroline BLANVILLAIN – Supplements and update by various members of the SOP Manu.

Bibliography:
https://inpn.mnhn.fr/espece/cd_nom/199320
http://avibase.bsc-eoc.org/species.jsp?avibaseid=22D1B4A2F0911712
http://www.oiseaux.net/oiseaux/fou.masque.html
http://ifrecor-doc.fr/items/show/1283
http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/masked-booby-sula-dactylatra
http://www.hbw.com/ibc/species/masked-booby-sula-dactylatra
https://www.iucnredlist.org/search?query=Brown%20Booby&searchType=species

NAMES

Scientific Name: Sula dactylatra  Lesson, 1831

Polynesian Names:
Kena (Tuamotu, Gambier)

LOCATION
  • All tropical seas

STATUS AND PROTECTION

Common species in Polynesia.
The species is classified as “Least Concern” (LC) on the IUCN Red List.