Name: Abbott's Booby (Papasula abbotti). This species is named for William Louis Abbott who discovered it on Assumption Island in 1892.

Description: Mammal
Length: 79 cm
Weight: 1460 g
Food: Adult birds feed on fish and squid and feed the chicks by regurgitation.
Breeding: The species nests in emergent trees in rainforest, with pairs laying a single egg, mainly in June or July. Growth of the chick is slow, with most making their first flight in December or January, and remaining dependent on the parent birds for food for about the next 230 days.

Habitat: Continents: Christmas Island, Australia
History: Formerly it bred on other Indian Ocean islands. There is fossil evidence of its former presence in the South Pacific, and eyewitness reports of it formerly breeding on the Mascarene Islands. In April 2007 an individual of this species was photographed at a booby colony on Rota in the Pacific Ocean

Problems: Much of the breeding habitat of the Abbott’s Booby was destroyed by phosphate mining in the 1960s and 1970s and it is classified as Endangered. The population is estimated to be about 3000 birds and decreasing. On Christmas Island, threats include cyclones, degradation of breeding habitat and Yellow Crazy Ants. Offshore potential threats are overfishing and marine pollution.


Claudia Stacks