English and Scientific names:

Brown BoobySula leucogaster

Number of individuals: 

One individual, juvenal plumage

Locality: LOUISIANA: 

Cameron Parish

Specific Locality:

ca. 2 mi. W of Holly Beach

Date(s) when observed:

1 June 2008

Time(s) of day when observed:  

late afternoon/early evening for about an hour

Reporting observer and address:

Josh SylvestBaton Rouge, LA

Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):

James V. Remsen

Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)


Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

viewed in good light, evening sun to our backs

Optical equipment: 

Leica 10x42, excellent condition

Distance to bird(s): 

from 100yards or more initially down to within a few feet

Duration of observation:

roughly one hour



Behavior of bird: 

The bird was first observed resting very near beach-goers who passed frequently within a few feet of the bird without disturbing it.We drove closer to the birdís location and walked out towards it, carefully approaching it to within two feet.Remsen was on all fours photographing the bird at this close distance when his hat blew off and nearly hit the bird (it actually may have hit the bird).The bird then took flight and disappeared down the beach to the east.


Appeared near Gannet size or smaller from a distance and decidedly smaller at close range; body structure typical of sulids, this bird with slimmer proportions than a Gannet, the only other sulid with which I have (had) experience.Eye was grayish-blue, bill grayish.Legs and feet were rather pinkish looking, even at close range.Plumage uniformly dark brown.



Similar species:

Uniformly brown plumaged, juvenile sulid could have been either Red-footed Booby or Brown Booby and this bird was initially believed to be a Red-footed based on pinkish legs and feet and a pinkish color at the base of itís grayish bill.With more experience (neither observer had ever seen either species), bill structure may have been the best clue for Brown Booby, as this bird had a deeper, straighter and generally more substantial bill than Red-footed should.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

Photographs by Remsen previously sent in

Previous experience with this species: 


Identification aids:

National Geographic Field Guide to Birds of N.A., 2nd edition;

various websites and input from other birders

This description is written from: 

memory, pictures

Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain: 


Yes, Iím now confident that this was a Brown Booby


Josh Sylvest

Date and time: 

26 August 2008Time: 3:15 p.m.