Galapagos Birds List
Galapagos Birds List
The Galapagos Islands are home to some of the most marvelous birds of the world, approximately 140 species of birds can bee seen around the archipelago, and half of the local birds are endemic to the Islands. Biodiversity in Galapagos makes for the best bird sighting opportunities due to the multiple avian life that resides in the Islands.
Some of the Galapagos birds that you’ll encounter at Las Encantadas are:
This bird is famous for the peculiar color of its feet. Did you know that this bird uses its wide blue feet to cover their babies and keep them warm? They also use them to do a very peculiar dance mating ritual in which males show their feet to the female candidate and she gets to choose, usually the ones with bright, bluer feet have the highest chances of being selected. The blue-footed booby is a non-threatened species so you can expect to get a glimpse of those curious feet along various islands on the archipelago.
Red Footed Booby
These red footed birds, although mainly marine, nest on big trees and their streamlined body helps them when they dive in the ocean to catch their food, they enjoy eating fish and squid. This booby is the smallest of the species but has longer toes on its red webbed feet to climb or grasp. These amazing birds lay only one egg, and nest mainly on Genovesa Island, but can be seen in San Cristobal Island as well.
The largest kind of boobies in the archipelago, they like to nest near shores and are known for being very competitive and even violent among other species of boobies. These boobies can be seen on almost every island, around cliff walls. For courtship, male’s display a sky pointing position and shake their head, then the female joins him and they knock their beaks together. They have white-bibbed bodies, black feathered wings and normal colored feet, maybe that’s why they’re so angry.
The Galapagos albatross is surely something special, this is the largest bird in all the archipelago and it’s known for its dancing steps, which they use as a mating strategy, they face each other making high-pitched sounds and raise their beaks. Nevertheless, that is not the most interesting fact about this species’ mating habits: Galapagos albatross only mate and nest in the Española Island between January and March. This white necked and brown winged bird is also completely monogamous.
Basically the most famous birds in the Galapagos Islands, these birds are the perfect example of evolution and natural selection. In Galapagos there are multiple species of finches, precisely 14, and the variations in their beaks for adaptability among these species inspired Charles Darwin to theorize about “The transmutation of Species” . Galapagos finches are very small birds whose diet varies widely according to the island they live in and are endemic to the Islands.
There are two kinds of frigate birds on the islands, both coexist and even nest close: Fregata Minor and Fregata Magnificens, the latter being the most iconic frigatebird you’ll recall, with a big red gullar sack that inflates like a balloon four courtship. Males compete for the brightest, most long lasting throat pouch, they also build a nest in a tree to offer to the female. Not great swimmers or walkers, they fly through the skies of the Galapagos in multiple islands.
This kind of flamingo can be seen in Galapagos Island in small groups, its feathers are bright pink and it has very long legs and neck. Did you know that flamingos have the largest tongues among birds? They also have small plates in their mandibules that act as a filter so they can maximize feeding efficiency. American flamingos can stand up to 57 inches tall and their mating rituals include dancing with their necks cocked up while flashing their private parts…no dinner first.
This endemic bird of prey reigns as the king of the sky, they are relatively young around the island, arriving a mere 300.000 years ago. The Galapagos Hawk feeds on other birds, small mammals and lizards, even marine iguanas and hatchlings of tortoises and sea turtles are at his mercy. A single female can have multiple male partners and each one of them helps raise the hatchlings, male are in charge of feeding their babies. Their wingspan ranges from 46 inches to 55 inches approximately.
The smallest variety of penguins there is, and also the only one able to live in a tropical environment. Galapagos penguins are endemic and can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Although they can endure the island’s weather and sometimes seek heat, they prefer the colder currents season. Galapagos penguins are so intrepid that they nest in volcanic rock caves. Sadly, as they are rare, they are also the most endangered penguin species on earth.
This special bird it’s been called the most unique cormorant ever, since they don’t ever use their wings. Although it is said that these marvelous birds arrived in the Galapagos by flight, almost 2 million years ago, they now have lost all ability to fly due to the lack of land predators. Instead of flying, these birds prefer deep diving into the ocean at 33-45 feet in search of eels and octopuses; their feet act like paddles to help this maneuver. Did you know that in flightless cormorants courtship rituals the females approach the males? This highly unusual bird is found on just two islands: Fernandina, and the northern and western coasts of Isabela.
Galapagos short-eared owl
The short-eared owl is found in most continents with the exception of the Antarctica but, the Galapagos Short-eared Owl can only be found here, as many other species in the islands this owl adapted to the weather challenges and became a new species, this owl has darker plumage than his non tropical cousins. They are very clever hunters, and unlike other owls that hunt at night these fellows hunt in the daytime when food is abundant, they look for birds, mammals, insects and more. They are most frequently seen hunting in the seabird colonies of Genovesa Island.
Along the lava rock coastlines, the Lava Herons (also known as Galapagos herons) are camouflaged at plain sight. The color of their feathers melts with the colors of the volcanic island rocks, Lava Herons can be found hanging out at near shores, saltwater lagoons or mangroves. Their back feathers typically have a silvery sheen and on their heads they sport a short crest. When breeding, the usually gray heron’s legs turn into a bright orange color.These herons are monogamous and very fond of romance mating up to three times a year, especially after a heavy rainfall.