A blue-footed booby, either lost or merely adventurous, was spotted Friday morning near Gladstone's restaurant in Pacific Palisades north of Malibu.
SoCal Wild reports that biologist Dan Cooper made the initial sighting at about 7:45 a.m. He had stopped at a Pacific Coast Highway overlook to watch birds feeding on schooling bait fish when he noticed the booby bobbing atop the surface.
In an observation report to e-Bird, a sighting program run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, Cooper wrote: "It flapped once in about an hour of observation, and I was able to see it had whitish at the base of the tail/rump (also visible when it was facing away from me), as well as extensively pale wing linings. It had a very long, darkish bill, but this would 'flash' pale, as would the crown and neck, depending on the angle…'
Another bird enthusiast, David Bell, also filed an observation report to e-Bird: "About an hour later it came in closer to shore to join a group of feeding cormorants, pelicans and gulls around a pod of porpoises. The obvious irregular white spots above made it immediately obvious that it was a blue-footed booby, a species I have seen many times in Mexico and occasionally elsewhere."
Blue-footed boobies are large seabirds found typically in warm coastal waters of the Pacific. They rarely visit the West Coast but have been sighted in California, Texas, and Arizona.
The birds do not construct nests and lays eggs on bare ground
(usually on offshore islands). They forages offshore on fish, and are partial to flying fish.
They're distinguishable by their bright-blue webbed feet, of course. Adult birds, typically, are white with dark wings, with a whitish head, a darkish face, and a pale, grayish bill.
Click the audio link provided here and listen to the blue-footed booby's peculiar call.
–Note: Photo is generic and not the booby spotted near Malibu. Credit: Wikipedia
–Hat tip to LaObserved