The article covers a lot of information we hadn’t seen before about these cute seabirds with webbed teal blue feet, and we wanted to share these new facts with fellow Frosties:
First, their blue feet are an important trait in their mating process. Choosy partners focus on the blueness of their potential mate’s feet, with a colorful turquoise shade being the optimal color. But there’s a reason for the color preference, as the blueness is a sign of good health. While their webbed skin has proteins that produce a basic blue hue, their diet of fish produces the yellow pigment that generates the bright aquamarine effect. So they are naturally drawn to select healthier, heartier mates.
Here’s another interesting fact: Once mated, the key to their long-term fidelity and more productive breeding is based on an equitable sharing of nest and parental duties (a lot to be learned here…). Even greater breeding is found in a specific mating pattern – May to December relationships are more productive. It doesn’t matter which mate is older or younger, just having the wider age range between the two partners seems to ensure a greater volume of offspring.
A few more interesting tidbits: These birds are real homebodies throughout their lives, staying within a few feet of where they were born. There also appears to be a natural “bully trait” where first-borns are pretty tough on their younger siblings. But it doesn’t seem to give the younger ones a complex – once they grow to adulthood, they are equally confident and capable, going on to live happy, normal lives (assuming their feet are blue enough!).
One more piece of trivia: The origin of the name for these birds comes from the Spanish word “Bobo” meaning clown. The label is associated with their awkward two-step waddle, but it’s so cute!
Here’s the full article in the Times. And below are more posts on our mascot Shivers: