SPECIES: Papasula abbotti — Abbott's Booby


Meet the Abbott's Booby, a marine species of bird that spends most of its time at sea on long fishing trips for squid and fish - coming ashore to breed. It measures 80cm tall from beak to tail, with off-white plumage, black panda-like eye patches, black wings and blue webbed feet. Yes, blue! Males have pale grey bills and females, black tipped pink bills. Yes, pink!

When ashore, they nest in tall rainforest trees on parts of Christmas Island. A survey from the 1990s recorded only 2500 breeding pairs left in existence and have now disappeared from other islands on which they were once found. Abbott's Booby is thought to be very long-lived, breeding first at around 8 years of age, their average life span can be up to 40 years! They lay a single clutch egg, which absolutely puts pressure on their ability to increase in population. These beauties are under threat from forest clearing, storms and cyclones and the Yellow Crazy Ant - an introduced species that preys on nestlings.

Photo: Alchetron

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