The population of blue-footed boobies — the seabirds with characteristically colorful feet — has been declining in the Galápagos islands.

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The birds' numbers have dropped more than 50 percent in less than 20 years, according to a study published Monday (April 21) in the journal Avian Conservation and Ecology. The researchers speculated that a lack of sardines, a source of food for the boobies, might be to blame for the decline.

The researchers first noticed the decrease in the booby population in 1997.

"Until 1997, there were literally thousands of boobies at these breeding sites, and hundreds of nests full of hatching chicks," study author Dave Anderson, a professor of biology at Wake Forest University, said in a statement. [In Images: 100 Most Threatened Species]

"Then, suddenly, the boobies just weren't there," Anderson said, adding that, in a few cases, the birds had attempted to breed, but most did not produce offspring.

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I just read about the Galápagos booby decline, probably due to sardine decline.

... the birds' breeding and reproduction have been dropping appreciably at least since 1998, to the point that "few pairs bred in 2011-2013 and almost no birds in juvenile plumage were seen." [emphasis mine]

Blue-Footed Booby Threatened in the Galápagos

It's a terrible thing!

Thanks for posting, Steph.




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