Family Gannets, Boobies (Sulidae)

Least Concern

Peruvian Booby (Sula variegata)


French: Fou varié German: Guanotölpel Spanish: Piquero peruano

Dysporus variegatus


, 1843,

islands off Peru


Apparently hybridizes with S. nebouxii in N Peru#R, but such events rare and very localized#R. Monotypic.


W coast of S America in area of Humboldt Current; breeding grounds from N Peru (Piura)#R to C Chile (Mocha I), non-breeders dispersing as far as SW Ecuador, rarely SW Colombia.

Descriptive notes

71–76 cm; two males 1250 g and 1350 g, two females 1500 g and 1540 g. Head and neck white, rest of upperparts including upperwing umber brown, each feather with whitish... read more


At colony, male utters high-pitched chittering calls and female makes various grunting and low... read more


Strictly marine. Feeds close to the coast in cool, rich waters of upwelling, where food... read more

Food and feeding

Used to feed almost exclusively on abundant supplies of anchoveta (Engraulis ringens), but, after collapse of stocks, may have... read more


Only loosely seasonal, mostly Sept–Feb in Peru; in Chile laying occurs Jan/Feb. Nests on ground in enormous colonies; nest generally... read more


Largely sedentary, but occurrence of El Niño causes mass desertion of area and large-scale... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Numerous, and locally abundant. Global population very large; some annual fluctuation in numbers. Population was greatly reduced... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C., Christie, D.A. & Jutglar, F. (2020). Peruvian Booby (Sula variegata). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 24 February 2020).