Brown Booby

Sula leucogaster

Incredibly, this immature Brown Booby, photographed onboard a ship on the northern Grand Banks, represented the second record of this primarily tropical seabird for Newfoundland. - Photo: Sarah Penney (September 4, 2013)

Incredibly, this immature Brown Booby (photographed onboard a ship on the northern Grand Banks) represented the second record of this primarily tropical seabird for Newfoundland.
– Photo: Sarah Penney (September 4, 2013)

Status: Rare (Less than Annual)

Origins: A pantropical species, occurring in the tropical regions of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, including the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. It is occasionally seen further north, and increasingly so in the past few years – to the point there have been multiple records in Newfoundland waters 2017-2021.

Record Details: About thirteen records for Newfoundland – mostly on vessels (both inside and just outside official provincial waters). (1) The first was an individual that was photographed near St. Anthony on July 18, 2012 as it took refuge on a tour boat. The photos appear in a local newspaper article here. It was reportedly seen dead on rocks at the harbour entrance the following day. (2) The second was an immature bird photographed resting on a vessel on the northern Grand Banks on September 4, 2013. (3) Thirdly, an adult was seen and photographed sitting on a rock jetty at Long Beach (near Cape Race) on August 4, 2015. Unfortunately, it could not be relocated later that day or the following. (4) An adult was reported and photographed on a cruise ship on August 24, 2017 – at that time just a few miles outside the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve. Interestingly, video later surfaced of an adult Brown Booby onboard a shrimp boat near Square Island, Labrador on August 15, 2017 — potentially the same bird? (5) An individual photographed on a vessel “somewhere off the west coast” in mid-August 2018. (6) An individual landed briefly on a vessel just 5-10 miles off Cape Spear on September 14, 2018. (7) An individual photographed sitting on the rail of the ferry heading to Argentina on July 3, 2019. (8) An adult reported feeding off the lighthouse at Cape St. Mary’s on July 27, 2019. (9) An adult on an offshore vessel ~100 miles south of St. Mary’s Bay on July 19-20, 2019. (10) An immature present from the same vessel  in the same area on August 14, 2019. (11) Most recently, an adult was spotted sitting on a ship mast in St. John’s harbour on September 7, 2019 – seen by a handful of lucky birders before it flew off later that day. (12) An individual was spotted by a fisherman south of Burgeo ~September 9 2020. (13) Another individual landed on a ship on the Grand Banks on September 13, 2020 (unclear if this was within official waters).

Records for Labrador include one photographed on a shrimp boat near Square Island (August 15, 2017) and an adult at Forteau on September 1, 2020.

An immature bird was also photographed on a Coast Guard vessel ~220nmi offshore (outside official waters) on September 1, 2014. Another individual was photographed on the southeast Grand Banks on August 31, 2021.

* NOTE – This website is not an official account and “may” contain incorrect information and/or details of unconfirmed records. *


Adult Brown Booby, Long Beach, August 4 2015 (Photo: Bob Carroll)

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