Notice for readers: On March 31, Neotropical Birds will be integrated into the new Birds of the World, a powerful research database offering species accounts for every species on earth. Learn more at While Birds of the World is a subscription service, we remain committed to offering this content to Neotropical Birds contributors and to those unable to pay for it through our scholarship program. Stay tuned.

Peruvian Booby Sula variegata

  • © Eric Barnes

The Peruvian Booby is a brown-and-white Sulid of the Humboldt Current off western South America. Like the Blue-footed Booby (Sula nebouxii), the Peruvian has brown upperparts, a gray bill, and white head and underparts. Peruvian, however, has gray rather than blue legs, a whiter head, more white mottling on the upperwings, and no white patch at the center of the lower back. This species breeds from northern Peru to central Chile on small coastal islands on cliff ledges or bare ground. While generally rather sedentary, El Niño events may trigger massive dispersal and vagrancy north to Colombia and south to southern Chile. During these events, the upwelling patterns of coastal Peru and Chile are altered, and the food sources that the Peruvian Booby and other seabirds depend on are effectively cut off. Typically, however, this species feeds in groups, often with other seabirds, by plunge-diving in pursuit of schooling fish.

Help complete this species

There are many ways to contribute—we need species information, photographs, audio, video, translations, maps, distribution data, and bird sightings. There's a role for everyone!

Learn more


© Ted Parker

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Peruvian Booby (Sula variegata), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: