Abbott's Booby

Abbott's Booby by AFC

Papasula abbotti by Kathryn Weisberg
(8 in. x 8 in. | Oil on Canvas | ID#4019)

Family: SULIDAE | Conservation Status: Endangered | Population Trend: stable

Artist Statement

The Abbott's Booby has too many biological and ecological idiosyncracies to afford it much success in the future. Now pretty much limited to nesting in downwind treetops on Christmas Island, it's reproduction rate is low, and nestlings frequently starve. Mated for life, a breeding pair may be successful once every two years but can extend that to once in five years. Fledglings do not reach maturity until around eight years of age. Phosphate mining on Christmas Island has reduced the population by one third, another 36% is affected by the effects of deforestation with both adult birds and fledglings falling to the ground from the remaining unprotected trees, invading ant colonies, overfishing and pollution and cyclones have played a significant role in further reducing the population. Christmas Island National Park now houses all known Abbott's Booby nest sites and is having some positive effects, however expected sealevel rise and declining fish poplulations due to climate change may be the final hurdle for this beautiful threatened species.

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