Abbott’s Boobies (Papasula abbotti) are large endangered seabirds that occur naturally only on and around Christmas Island (an Australian territory in the eastern Indian Ocean).
This species was named for William Louis Abbott, who discovered it on Assumption Island in 1892.
Average Size: 79 cm or 31 inches long, with long narrow wings
Average weight: 1,460 g or 52 oz.
Plumage: Black and white plumage
Average lifespan: 40 years
Distribution and habitat
Currently, they only breed on Christmas Island, Indian Ocean, and are mostly seen in the waters around that island.
In the past, they also bred on other Indian Ocean islands.
The breeding season commences in June or July. They start breeding at a relatively old age — when they are about 8 years old, and breed only once every two years.
They nest in emergent trees in rainforest and the females only lay one single egg each time.
Abbott’s Bobbies fish in the Indian Ocean with their main diet consisting of fish and squid.
Like most other birds, they feed their young by regurgitation.
Status / Conservation
These birds are critically endangered with an estimated population of only 3,000. Its numbers continue to decrease. Their habitat was destroyed by phosphate mining in the 1960s and 1970s.
Other threats include overfishing, marine pollution, cyclones, degradation of breeding habitat, and the invasive Yellow Crazy Ants that were introduced to Christmas Island in the early 1900s.
These aggressive ants attack any creature that enters their territory, spraying them with formic acid.