Sula dactylatra   Lesson,  1831 (Bird)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Aves

Image copyrights: Chan Robbins

Size: 81-92 cm, Range mass 1220 to 2353 g, Average wingspan 152 cm

Colour: adult white with black flight feathers and tail; facial and gular skin blackish to dark blue-grey; bill orange to yellow-green with black at base; legs and feet grey; eye yellow; immature dark grey-brown above with a dark brown head and white collar; underside of wings white with broad dark trailing edge and dark band parallel to leading edge; bill olive to pale horn.

Habits: Found solitary or in small flocks, plunge down vertically from a height and pursue the fish under clear water.

Sexes alike. Adult: Bill yellow or orange or greenish yellow, face and gular pouch (face-mask) blackish, upperparts mainly white, wing feathers and tail black, legs and feet yellow, orange, or greenish. Juvenile: Has brown head, neck and upperparts, whitish hind-collar, whitish scaling on upperparts, white underparts and underwing-coverts.

Breeding Season: Breeding seasons vary widely throughout the range of masked boobies; they can occur from February to August, January to July, and August to March. Nest- Masked boobies nest colonially; their nests are small hollows in the ground. Eggs- 1-2, both male and female incubate the egg.

Synonym (s)
Sula melanops (Heuglin, 1859)

Common Name (s)
• Masked Booby (English)
• Blue-faced booby (English)
• Shyam mukh waghomada (Gujrati)
• White Booby (English)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Fishermen sometimes find schools of tuna by following feeding boobies; without knowing it, boobies provide fisherman with information on the best places to find fish. Boobies are also popular among birdwatchers.)
Importance:  Ecosystem balance
(Because masked boobies do not occur in dense populations, they do not seriously affect fish populations where they feed, nor are they important food sources for predators.)

Habitat:  Pelagic, Estuarine, Open Sea, Rocky, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  Mainly squids and fish.
IUCN Status:  Least Concern


• West Coast INDIA
• Lakshadweep INDIA
• Goa, Anjuna coast INDIA (Record: 04/08/1997)
• Goa, Dona Paula INDIA (Record: 08/11/1997)
• Karnataka, Sadashivgadh INDIA (Record: 23/06/1895)
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.33) (Long: 75.96) INDIA
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.66) (Long: 76.18) INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Myers, P; Espinosa, R; Parr, CS; Jones, T; Hammond, GS and Dewey, TA (2006) Animal diversity web Available at -
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Kumar, A; Sati, JP; Tak, PC and Alfred, JRB (2005) Handbook on Indian wetland birds and their conservation Zoological Survey of India, Dehra Dun 468 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Lainer, H (2004) Birds of Goa : A reference book The Goa Foundation, Goa 244 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Available at -
  • Nameer, PO (2005) Wetlands and waterfowl conservation in kerala with special reference to Ramsar sites kerala environment congress 2005 Centre for environment and development 97-112 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Vernacular names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent Buceros, Envis newsletter: Avian Ecology & Inland Wetlands 62pp Available at -
  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Available at -
  • Sivaperuman C and Jayson EA (2000) Birds of Kol wetland, Thrissur, Kerala Zoo's print journal 15(10) 344-349pp Available at -
  • Ali S and Ripley SD (1968) Handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan Oxford university press 1 1-368pp Available at - NIO
  • PBase Available at -

Page last updated on:2013-02-08

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