Christmas Island National Park

This large seabird gets its name from its conspicuous red feet.

Measuring 70–80 cm with a wingspan of around 1.4 metres, the red-footed booby is the smallest of the booby family. It has a pale blue bill while the colour of its plumage varies with age.

Red-footed boobies are strong flyers who will travel up to 150 km in search of food. They often hunt in flocks, diving into the sea from a great height to catch fish and squid.

Christmas Island is a globally important breeding site for red-footed boobies, hosting more than 12,000 breeding pairs in large colonies. Females lay a single egg every 15 months, with both parents caring for the chick.

Red-footed booby nesting. Photo: Wondrous World Images Red-footed booby nesting. Photo: Wondrous World Images

Where to see them

Look for flocks of red-footed boobies heading out to sea with their brown cousins in the morning and returning in the evening.

These noisy birds usually nest in trees on the shore terraces. You might see breeding colonies behind the Chinese cemetery and at Ethel Beach.

Scientific name

Sula sula rubripes