Sula sula (Red-footed booby)

Rooipootmalgas [Afrikaans]; Roodpootgent [Dutch]; Fou à pieds rouges [French]; Rotfußtölpel [German]; Alcatraz-de-patas-vermelhas [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora >Aves (birds) > Order: Ciconiiformes > Family: Sulidae

Sula sula (Red-footed booby) Sula sula (Red-footed booby)

Red-footed booby, Mozambique channel. [photo Neil Gray ©]

Red-footed booby, Mozambique channel. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Distribution and habitat

Dispersed widely across tropical oceans, extending into southern African waters, where it is most common in the Mozambique channel while more scarce in the area north-west of Namibia. It has also been recorded as a vagrant to the coast of Namibia, with one isolated recording near Cape Town.


It mainly eats flyingfish (Exocoetidae) and squid, hunting by either plunge-diving or aerial hawking.


It breeds on tropical islands, such as Ascension Island, Europa Island (Mozambique Channel) and the Seychelles, nesting in trees or shrubs.


Not threatened, although its population has decreased due to human exploitation, habitat loss and the introduction of predators at breeding colonies.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 



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