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Portrait of Brown Gannet

Michoacán, Mexico

*Above is the portrait of a Brown Gannet  (Sula leucogaster). The blue sheen at the base of the bill is characteristic of the species. This image was taken in The Swains, a collection of low islands, coral reefs, and cays, between 120 and 250 kilometers (8 to 16 miles) off Queensland, in the Coral Sea.

Many species of Gannets are also called Boobys or Booby Birds.  The term 'booby' derives from the Spanish word bobo, or clown, based on the awkward movements of the birds on land.  In the air, they become figures of graceful motion.  The Spanish speaking peoples call these and related birds 'Piqueros' or lancers.  This is a more justifiable name for these beautiful birds.

  There are many species of Gannets.  In Islas Galápagos, Ecuador, the Blue Footed Gannet (Sula nebouxii), or 'Piquero de Patas Azules', and the Masked Gannet (Sula dactylatra) or 'Piquero Enmascarado' are commonly encountered, and easily observed.  The former we have also met on islands in Bajia de los Angeles, off the east coast of Baja California. 

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