|Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Aves (Birds) Order: Ciconiiformes Family: Sulidae|
Masked Booby (Sula dactylatra)
Masked Booby (Sula dactylatra) is a rare visitor to western coast of India and probably breeds in Lakshadweep islands.
Identification: Size 82-92 cm. Wingspan: 68 inches. Sexes similar. Pelagic bird only coming ashore to breed. Large bird that dives for fish from air. Takes 2 to 3 years to reach adult plumage. Adult birds have white head, body and wing coverts, with dark primaries, secondaries, and tail. Dark patches on back. Dark mask. Large, greenish to pale yellow, pointed bill. Grayish legs and feet. Immature birds have a dark brownish head and upperparts separated by light collar.
Similar species: The very similar adult Nazca Booby has an orange, not
yellow, bill. Adult Masked Booby can be separated from other black and white
boobies by the entirely dark secondaries and dark tail. Immature boobies are
very difficult to identify. Brown Booby and
Red-footed Booby have darker bellies.
Blue-footed has a white rump patch and a more horizontal demarcation between
the dark upper breast and the white belly.