WatchList Species Account for Masked Booby (Sula dactylatra)

Qualifies for the list as a Declining Yellow List Species


Masked Booby

The Masked Booby breeds throughout the world’s tropical oceans and can be abundant near oceanic islands. The species is especially attracted to smaller oceanic islands that are flat and unforested. In the U.S., the Masked Booby is found only on the Hawaiian Islands and the Dry Tortugas of Florida.


These birds feed largely on fish and squid, diving and plunging into shoals of prey from as high as 100 feet.


Masked Boobies can tolerate a certain amount of human disturbance (such as tourists visiting colonies) and coexists with feral cats and goats in the Galapagos.


However, this species is very vulnerable to human development, and the introduction of feral pigs onto nesting islands have caused the abandonment of large colonies. These colonies can recover once the cause of the disturbance is removed.


Many colonies are protected by their remoteness. Some mortality results from the birds becoming entanglement in fishing lines.