Blue-footed booby, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
© Tui De Roy/Minden Picture
Coming in for a smooth landing?. Blue-footed booby, Galápagos Islands
Today we're celebrating Darwin Day with this blue-footed booby on the shores of the Galápagos Islands, where the famous naturalist observed wildlife and collected specimens that would inform his theory of evolution.
The distinctive, bright blue feet of these marine birds are particularly eye-catching, as is their exuberant mating dance. The male struts around showing off the blueness of his feet to prospective mates. These birds often mate for life and recognize their partner by their unique call.
What about that name? It's said to be derived, rather unkindly, from the Spanish word 'bobo,' which means stupid, as they can be clumsy on land and were easily caught by sailors. They're much more graceful in the air, however, swooping from great heights and plunging into the water at speeds of up to 60 mph to catch small fish to eat.