Ascension Island Government

Conservation > Discover > Flora and Fauna > Masked Booby

Masked Booby

Sula dactylatra

Type: Seabird | Status: Least Concern | Nativeness: Native


The Masked Booby is predominately white with black trailing edges to their wings (wingspan: 152cm) and tail. They have a striking yellow iris and bill which is offset by their dark facial skin. Their legs and feet are also yellow. Both sexes are alike however can be told apart through vocalisations: females make a honking sound while males whistle.

Masked boobies nest in high numbers on the plateaus of Boatswainbird Island and Letterbox peninsula, laying 2 chalky eggs in a shallow depression on the ground. In recent years there are also nests along the south coast and on the peak of White Horse Hill. Chicks are born featherless but are soon covered in white down. The second chick born generally does not survive and is killed by the stronger sibling. These birds are spectacular plunge divers, plummeting into the ocean at high speed in search of flying fish.

Action Plan

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