The Galapagos's signature blue footed bird, Boobies, are not unlike you and I really. Sure, they have a bit more feathers than we do, but romance at its core is universal and can overcome all obstacles and maybe even species. So, let's go over the basics. Boy meets girl, flirting and dancing ensues and then he displays his bright blue feet to win over her heart. Just a typical romance story both bird and human can relate to, right? Ok, so I may have taken a bit of liberty with that statement and you're feeling a bit skeptical but I'm prepared to prove you wrong.
Let's start off with our title. Why do Boobies have blue feet? In one word -- diet. Everyone wants to look their best for their crush -- be it hair, make-up or eating right. Boobies are just as picky when it comes to dieting and carbs; more precisely, not eating any. I would have to describe their diet as very paleo, which is quite a fashionable diet trend nowadays, consisting of fish that produce carotenoid pigments that determine the intensity of the Boobie's feet colour; higher concentrations result in a bolder, bluer and if I may add, sexier colour.
In addition, these carotenoid pigments play two roles. They actually act as antioxidants and stimulants for the Booby's immune system, as well as beautifying the Booby's feet. However, the pigments don't play their roles simultaneously -- either the booby gets bluer feet or has a stronger immune system.
Boobies are one to take fashion over function as it tends to be when it comes to wooing the man of your dreams. In that sense, Boobies are a bit vain, preferring to prettify their feet than detox their bodies. (Ok, technically they don't really choose. The function of their pigments are their bodies doing.) Though it appears to be disadvantageous to them, in reality being bolder, bluer and vibrant serves a larger purpose dating.
So we're back to romance, so let's dance! During courtship, male boobies flaunt their feet in a complicated dance in an aim to impress the females. Males with brighter feet will be more successful at getting the females than a duller-footed male. So as a result, pretty boys get the girls first; life isn't fair for anyone or in that case, anything, is it?
So, why do these female Boobies love blue feet so much? Simply stated, bright feet means stronger and healthier males which breed strong and healthy babies. Also, brighter-footed males have been shown to be good fathers with better paternal instincts and who doesn't love a man who loves babies or Booby babies?
Though I would like to say that I have thoroughly convinced you of my Human-Booby-Romance hypothesis, I'll be the first to say I don't have much evidence or proof other than my ill-conceived notions. But, don't take my word for it. Go exploring and visit one of Galapagos's many beautiful islands. Observe 40% of the world's Booby population and decide for yourself, maybe even get some dance tips.
Though I can't convince everyone of my theory, I do know one thing for sure. Everyone loves to say this popular Galapagos bird's name!
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