Lord Howe Island: Masked Boobies

Masked boobies are some of the most spectacular seabirds. Closely related to gannets, they live far away from any mainland, mostly in remote islands of the Pacific and some in Atlantic oceans. They are large, 75 to 85 cm (30-33 in) in height, with a 160–170 cm (63–67 in) in wingspan. The birds are sparkling white with black wingtips and tail and a black mask over their faces. They are incredible divers often diving to very large depth and penetrating water at insane speeds. They plunge vertically or near-vertically from 15 to 35 m (50 to 115 ft) above water and into the ocean up to 3 m (9.8 ft) deep. And they swallow fish while underwater. Interestingly, they often die of old age because of blindness as the cornea is destroyed from the impact of diving. There were several colonies on the outer inaccessible sections of Lord Howe and the offshore islets.