Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Booby, the popular name for some species of Sula, a genus of diving-birds of the Pelican family, and especially Sula piscator, frequenting desolate islands and coasts in all tropical and sub-tropical regions, seldom wandering more than 20 leagues from land, to which it returns at nightfall. This uncomplimentary name is said to have been bestowed because these birds allow themselves to be killed or captured without attempting to escape, but Audubon denies this, and asserts that they grow wary by experience. The booby is about 30 inches long, allowing 5 inches for the straight conical bill, and 10 inches for the tail, which, as in the cormorants, is stiff, and serves as a point of support for the bird on land: the female is rather smaller than the male. The plumage is dusky-brown above, and whitish beneath; the young are spotted with white and brown. It is almost constantly on the wing, and swoops down on the fish that swim near the surface, rising almost immediately. The nest is a rude structure of dry sticks and seaweed, and never contains more than one egg. The flesh is dark and unsavoury, but is sometimes eaten by sailors.