Friday, September 24, 2010

Masked Booby – Ascension Island 2004

Page 42 

The Masked Booby has been featured on the stamps that has issued by Ascension Island on year 2004 with the collaboration of Birdlife International. The logo of Birdlife International and RSPB marked on stamp.

The Masked Booby, Sula dactylatra, is a large seabird of the gannet family, Sulidae. This species breeds on islands in tropical oceans, except in the eastern Atlantic. The Masked Boobies are spectacular divers, plunging diagonally into the ocean at high speed. They mainly eat small fish, including flying fish.

The Masked booby is the largest booby, at 81–91 cm long, and with a 152 cm wingspan and 1500 g weight.The distinctive characteristics are white colour with pointed black wings, a pointed black tail, and a dark grey facemask. The male has a yellow bill and the female’s is greenish yellow. Juveniles are brownish on the head and upperparts, with a whitish rump and neck collar. The underparts are white.

The Masked Booby is silent at sea, but has a reedy whistling greeting call at the nesting colonies. While on the breeding grounds, these birds display a wide range of hissing and quacking notes. The Masked Booby’s nests in small colonies, laid two chalky white eggs on sandy beaches in shallow depressions, which are incubated by both adults for 45 days.

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