Brown booby

   ›      ›   Brown booby - Sula leucogaster.

The brown booby (Sula leucogaster) belongs to the family Sulidae. The brown booby species is distributed in Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. It is a rare visitor to Indian Islands.

Taxonomy of Brown booby

  • Scientific Name: Sula leucogaster
  • Common Name: Brown booby
  • French: Fou brun; German: Weißbauchtölpel; Spanish: Piquero pardo;
  • Other names: Pelecanus leucogaster Boddaert, 1783;
  • Family: Sulidae › Suliformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: (Boddaert, 1783)
Brown booby species was earlier included in the genus Pelecanus. The four recognized subspecies are: S. l. leucogaster (Boddaert, 1783), S. l. plotus (J. R. Forster, 1844), S. l. brewsteri Goss, 1888 and S. l. etesiaca Thayer & Bangs, 1905.

Indian birds - Brown booby - Sula leucogaster
Indian birds - Brown booby - Sula leucogaster


The brown booby bird is a large bird, measuring 65 to 75 cm in length and weighing 700 to 1,550 grams. The wingspan is 130 to 150 cm. The female booby bird is slightly larger. The head and the upper body of this bird is brown-black. The belly is a contrasting white. The wings are short and the tail is tapered and long. The beak of booby is large and pointed with many jagged edges.


The brown booby birds are strictly marine and move near around their breeding habitats in tropical rocky or coral islands.

Feeding habits

The brown booby birds feed mainly on squids and flying fish. These booby bird usually catch the prey by plunge diving and also by plucking the prey out of water surface. They also snatch feed from other seabirds.


The breeding in these booby birds is seasonal in some areas and continuous is some areas. The nest is usually built on the ground in the midst of vegetation in remote islands. These booby birds form small colonies.


The subspecies S. l. leucogaster is distributed in the islands in Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and tropical Atlantic Ocean. The subspecies S. l. plotus is distributed in Red Sea, Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. The subspecies S. l. brewsteri is distributed in tropical Pacific Ocean and The subspecies S. l. etesiaca occurs in Pacific Ocean.

Movement Patterns

These booby birds are strictly marine and move about near the breeding grounds. Juveniles and non breeding birds may disperse widely.

Status and conservation

The global population of brown booby birds is estimated to be about 200,000 individual birds. The population is slowly declining due habitat loss and human activities in the breeding habitat. These bird species have an extremely large range and are considered least vulnerable.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these booby species and has listed them as of "Least Concern".

Biological classification of Sula leucogaster
Species:S. leucogaster
Binomial name:Sula leucogaster
Distribution:tropical Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Red sea and rare visitor to Indian islands;
Feeding habits:squid, flying fish and other fish;
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

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