Masked Booby: Seasonal Occurrence & Geographic Distribution

Masked Booby Sula dactylatra

Status: Uncommon to Common nonbreeding summer resident (May-October) in offshore and pelagic Gulf of Mexico waters. Seen frequently on South Padre Island pelagic birding trips during summer and fall. Birds are often seen in the relatively shallow continental shelf waters, sometimes in the vicinity of shrimp boats. On rare occasions, this species is found along the immediate coast.

Habitat: offshore and pelagic waters off the Lower Texas Coast.

Similar Species: Brown Booby has been recorded a half dozen times along the coast in all seasons. Brown Booby has a browner plumage (dark brown breast) and yellow feet. Masked Booby, especially juveniles, may be confused with larger Northern Gannet, which is a fairly common migrant and winter resident along the Lower Coast. Although both species may be present off the South Texas coast in migration (Oct and May), there is very limited seasonal overlap. Virtually any sulid seen from the coast between Nov-May would be a Northern Gannet unless proven otherwise.

© Copyright  Brad McKinney  31 October 31, 2004 (Status updated by Garett Hodne Nov 2014)


The graph below shows the number and date of all masked Booby sightings on all Texas Pelagics from 1992 to 2014:

 MABO Graph


This map shows the geographic distribution of Masked Booby sightings (blue diamonds) on 27 Texas Pelagics mostly from South Padre Island, but also including 1 trip from Port Aransas and 2 trips from Port O’Connor. Sighting coordinates from the remaining 25 + Texas Pelagics are not available.

Masked Boobies are evenly distributed over the shelf beyond 5 miles offshore and out into deep pelagic waters.

View Sulid Distribution in a larger map

Click on the box in the upper left of the map to view the map legend.

Click on each sighting symbol and the data label will appear showing the time, date and the number of birds seen.

Click on the link on the bottom of the map to view a larger map


© Copyright 1998-2015 Garett Hodne. All materials on all sites within this domain are copyrighted by Garett Hodne. Some individual items may be copyrighted by the author, photographer, or other sources as noted. All rights are reserved. All material is available for personal and private use only. However all material herein may not be reprinted, re-distributed, copied to other websites or reproduced for public use in any way without the express advanced written permission of the webmaster.