Famed for their spectacular plunging dives, six species of these large, wide-ranging seabirds have been recorded in Australia. Five species are breeding residents of Australia, while the Cape Gannet Morus capensis, from South Africa, appears only as a vagrant. The Abbott’s Booby Papasula abbotti breeds only Christmas Island.
At 75 to 85 cm, this is the largest booby. It is easily recognised by its predominantly white body, except for the prominent black flight feathers and thin black face mask. The long, pointed bill is normally yellow (brighter in males) with a black base, although it can have a greenish or orange wash. The eyes are yellow in all except the subspecies S. d. tasmani (present on...