Old dancing feet…the case of old male blue-footed boobies

Photo by: Etai Adam (flickr)

Dance is like wine; it matures with every performance.
– Alarmel Valli (classical Indian dancer)

Unfortunately, this is not the case for male blue-footed boobies (Sula nebouxii). In their world, males show off their extravagant blue feet and “dance” to attract females. The more brighter the blue on your foot, the more attractive you are because this shows that you know how to take care of yourself.
A study by Torres and Velando (2007) showed that older males, while more experienced, are not as attractive because they cannot keep their bright coloured blue foot. Unfortunately, as the birds age, their immune system gets weaker and their body can not dedicate so much energy into making their feet look nice as much as they want to.

Here’s a great video of what the dance looks like!

Fun fact: The name “booby” comes from the Spanish word “bobo” which means clown!



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