The booby is a large seabird, similar to the gannet. The main differences are that boobies rest on land, and gannets at sea, and that boobies are birds of the tropics and subtropics where as gannets live near the Arctic and Antarctic. They are about the size of a goose. They catch fish by diving into the sea to catch them. Boobies nest in colonies on remote islands where their chicks are safe from predators.
There are four species found in American waters:
- Blue-footed Booby - breeds on islands off California and Mexico, but can stray to the Salton Sea, Arizona and Texas.
- Red-footed Booby - a rare visitor to the Dry Tortugas and California. This, at 28 inches, is the smallest species.
- Brown Booby - also a rare visitor to both coasts of the mainland United States, but it nests in the Baja California region.
- Masked Booby - breeds on the Dry Tortugas but often strays to southern coasts. This is the largest of the Boobies at 32 inches in length.
- Nazca Booby - A species of Booby similar to Masked Boobies and native to the Galapagos. Until recently it was believed to be the same species as the Masked Booby.
- National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America (National Geographic 2002)