Some citizens of Mumbai rescued a juvenile Masked Booby, a large seabird that breeds on islands in tropical oceans, after finding it disoriented and dehydrated. The bird is responding well to treatment and the good Samaritans are planning to release it soon.
“The rescued bird is a juvenile, and these species are not really found in and around this coast.
“The bird is responding well to treatment and eating fish. We will release it in the deep sea later next week, when the monsoon fury slows down a bit,” said Dr Rina Dev.
“The scientific name of Masked booby is Sula Dactylatra. The bird came in dehydrated and hypothermic, probably due to starvation and being out in the rain.
“These birds are not native to India. Since they don’t have to breed, they wander far off, from places like Australia, African coast of Madagascar and some islands in the Indian ocean. Once the strong winds and rain settle down, it will be released off the coast of Mumbai hoping he finds his way back home and does not get blown ashore by the strong winds.
“Dr Dev had also referred the case to a bird expert from Bombay Natural History Society.
“Masked Boobies are spectacular divers, plunging diagonally into the ocean at high speed. They mainly eat small fish, including flying fish. This is a fairly sedentary bird, wintering at sea, but rarely seen far away from the breeding colonies. However, Caribbean birds occasionally wander north to warm southern Gulf Stream waters off the eastern seaboard of the United States. More remarkably, there have been three western Palaearctic records of masked booby, presumably dactylatra, all from Spanish waters, although one of these also entered French territorial areas.”