Brown Booby, Sula leucogaster

Brown Booby
An adult female Brown Booby, in the semi-tropical waters of the Gulf of California, normal habitat for this seabird of worldwide distribution in warmer oceans. The legs of the adult are regularly yellow, as in the picture at the bottom of this page, so the blue-green hue on this bird at first threw me off, suggesting a possible immature Blue-footed Booby. But the all-brown above and sharply defined white below mean it can only be a Brown. The bluish face marks this bird as a male; a female would have a yellow face, matching the bill color.

Brown Booby
A juvenile Brown Booby, one of three birds of this species seen on an August pelagic trip from Half Moon Bay to the Farallon Islands, off the Central California coast, at a time when the ocean water there was unusually warm and hence hospitable to this normally tropical bird. The brown underparts identifies the bird as a juvenile; an adult would have white underparts, as in the birds shown above and below.

Brown Booby, with Blue-footed Booby
An adult female Brown Booby, seen at the Farallons on the same August trip as the flying juvenile of the same species shown above; the bird was accompanied by the Blue-footed Booby on the right, another tropical bird even less likely to be seen in temperate ocean waters. To complete a sensational sulid trifecta, the birders and photographers on board for this trip were treated to a Northern Gannet, a cold-water relative of the boobies but, except for this individual, one seen only on the Atlantic side; it was perched only a few yards away from these two birds on the same rock on Southeast Farallon Island!