MASKED BOOBY Sula dactylatra

Masked Booby is the commonest of the three species of booby to breed on Ascension. However, it is not the most widespread and it is not as easy to see as the Brown Booby. The majority of the 1,200 pairs of Masked Boobies are found on the plateau of Boatswainbird Island. One of the best ways to see this species is to sea watch from the north coast of Ascension, for example at North-east Bay. From here, flocks of Masked Boobies can be seen offshore, flying north-west in the morning and returning south-east to roost on Boatswainbird Island.

In February 2002 this hybrid Masked x Brown Booby (below) was found on Boatswainbird Island. The head and neck are typical of a Brown Booby, while the body and wings are those of a Masked Booby. The bird was holding a territory in the Masked Booby colony. It is not the first time that a hybrid of these two species has been recorded on Boatswainbird Island.