Iconic Galapagos blue-footed boobies becoming scarce; favorite food diminished

Blue-footed boobies often flying soloPhotos by Alexandra Stone Coren

Fewer Pacific Sardines Means Fewer Boobies

SANTA CRUZ, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador – Where have all the blue-footed boobies gone?

For centuries, it was easy to see flocks of the iconic sea birds throughout the Galapagos archipelago. But since the mid-1990s, their numbers have been dropping radically. Today it’s more likely to see just one or two of the boobies clinging to a rock with their Tiffany blue feet.

Scientists estimate that the number of blue-footed boobies has dwindled by 68 percent in the last 50 years to about 6,400. They have many predators: Galapagos hawks, rats, cats and dogs. But researchers say the main reason for their decline is the lack of their prime…


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