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(boobies), a family of birds of the order Stegano-podes. The birds are 70–100 cm long and weigh up to 3.5 kg. Adult birds have primarily white plumage, with black flight feathers; the young are brownish. The bill is dentate along the edges; there are no nostrils. There is a single genus, Sula, embracing nine species. The birds inhabit the coasts of seas and oceans, mainly in the tropics and subtropics. They are seldom encountered in the USSR. The species S. bassana sometimes dwells on northern shores of the Atlantic, and the red-footed booby (S. sula)inhabits coastal regions of the Pacific and Indian oceans.
Boobies fly and swim well. To catch fish, they dive into the water from altitudes of up to 30 m. Boobies nest in colonies on cliffs, on flat island areas, or in trees. A clutch contains one or, rarely, two or three eggs, which are incubated about 45 days. The young remain in the nest more than 12 weeks. At the nesting places, guano accumulates. For example, on the island of Málaga, two colonies, totaling some 40,000 pairs, annually deposit as much as 400 tons of guano.
REFERENCESPtitsy Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 1. Edited by G. P. Dement’ev and N. A. Gladkov. Moscow, 1951.
Zhizn’zhivotnykh, vol. 5. Moscow, 1970. A. I. Ivanov