The Birds of Galapagos.
Due to the isolation, especially many of the land birds are endemic. A total of 140 species of birds have been registered in Galapagos, half of them endemic. Among the land birds, Darwin's finches are probably the most famous. On the shores, the boobies wherever they have red or blue feet, are icons. Here are also lagoon birds such as penguins, ducks, stilts, herons, warblers, pelicans and frigates. See the pictures I tool of birds here.
The other owl is the Short-eared Owl; Asio flammeus galapagoensis which can be seen on Genovesa where it hunts on foot among the colonies of storm petrels. It will wait at the entrance to a storm petrels burrow and will lunge with its claws when it hears a bird within reach. As its name implies, its ears are small and hard to see. It is found on most other islands, except Fernandina and Wolf.
Galapagos Flycatcher; Myiarchus magnirostris also known as the Large-billed Flycatcher is a species of bird in the Tyrannidae family. It is endemic to the Galapagos Islands. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests and subtropical or tropical dry shrub land.
There are several non-endemic species like the Paint-billed Crake; Neocrex erythrops, Common Gallinule; Gallinula chloropus and Dark-billed Cuckoo; Coccyzus melacoryphus.
The birds I should look
after on San Cristobal are the
Tyto punctissima, Short-eared Owl; Asio
Gallinule; Gallinula chloropus,
Dark-billed Cuckoo; Coccyzus melacoryphus,
Pyrocephalus rubinus nanus,
Large-billed (Galapagos) Flycatcher; Myiarchus
magnirostris, Galapagos Martin;
Chatham mockingbird; Nesomimus melanotis,
Dendroica petechia aureola,
Ground-Finch; Geospiza fortis,
Ground-Finch; Geospiza fuliginosa,
finch; Geospiza scandens,
Small Tree-Finch; Camarhynchus
parvulus, Woodpecker Finch; Cactospiza
Warbler Finch; Certhidea olivacea and the
Vegetarian Tree Finch; Platyspiza
The sea birds including the mangrove and lagoon species. Again, we find many endemic species of which many are highly endangered. Among them are the Galapagos (Lava) Heron; Butorides sundevalli, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron; Nyctanassa violacea galapagensis, Brown Pelican; Pelecanus occidentalis urinator Endemic subspecies, White-vented (Elliot's) Storm-Petrel; Oceanites gracilis galapagoensis Endemic subspecies and Wedge-rumped (Galapagos) Storm-Petrel; Oceanodroma tethys tethys and the Galapagos Oystercatcher; Haematopus palliatus galapagensis. Some of those I find more interesting are:
Spheniscus mendiculus, is found on Fernandina, Isabela
and Bartolome islands, This is the only penguin that is
found north of the equator and is able to survive here
because of cold currents of water that flow around
Fernandina and Isabela islands; the Humboldt current. The
Galapagos penguin is flightless, like the rest of the
penguin species, and is only 35 centimetres tall, which
makes it one of the smallest penguins in the world.
Lava Gull; Larus fuliginosus is only poorly known, and it is considered vulnerable because it has a very small population. Numbers are assumed to be stable, although there are a number of potential threats, which may be having an impact. breeds only in the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. It is widespread throughout the archipelago, with possibly the most dense populations found at Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz), Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristóbal) and Puerto Villamil (Isabela).
Creagrus furcatus are
the unusual list of Galapagos birds; an endemic sea bird.
Endemism in sea birds is low due to their high dispersal
ability, but given the right isolating conditions, the
resulting adaptations are quite interesting. In Galapagos,
we have two resident gull species, and both are endemic
species (swallow-tail gull and lava gull).
Flightless Cormorant; Phalacrocorax harrisi are a flightless Galapagos bird, that lives in the westernmost Islands, Fernandina and Isabela, where there is plenty of food and nesting habitat for this unusual seabird. In islands with plenty of food and safety, the cormorants had no practical use for their wings and, simply, by means of natural selection, became flightless.
Non Endemic species: Here are also species known from other coasts like the Great Blue Heron; Ardea herodias, Striated Heron; Butorides striatus but the most significant are:
Waved Albatross; Phoebastria irrorata is found around the East Pacific. It have a wingspan of three and a half meter. Strangely enough they are only found in Galapagos on Espanola, where they depart their lovely grounds by early January and return by early April - just when I'm there...
Red-Footed Boobies; Sula sula websteri. These Galapagos birds are the only ones with prehensile feet. They nest on Palo Santo trees or bushes. A precocious group, red-footed boobies start mating when they still have their juvenile plumage (which may explain the healthy size of the colony).
Blue-Footed Boobies; Sula nebouxii. These birds are fearless divers; from 30 meters or more, and picturesque dancers with their beaks pointing up to the sky, while stomping the ground with their huge bright blue webbed feet. Favourite nesting Galapagos Islands are: Española, the Daphnes, Isabela and North Seymour Island.
Nazca Boobies; Sula granti are the largest of the three boobies. Big nesting colonies are found in Genovesa and Espanola Islands in Galapagos.
also called Man O'War, are the kind of Galapagos birds that
belong to the sea though they are virtually not waterproof!
What a contradiction! They are large; almost 1.8 meter
wingspan, lightweight and have a long, hooked beak to catch
fish without getting
There are around 500
Galapagos (Caribbean, American) Flamingos;
The Galapagos Flamingo measures 120 – 140 centimetres in
length. Most of their plumage is pink, the wing coverts are
red and the primary and secondary flight feathers are black.
A flamingos beak is pink with a restricted black tip and the
legs are entirely pink.
Duck; Anas bahamensis galapagensis is an endemic
subspecies from the is a
ducks. Like many southern ducks, the sexes are similar. It
is mainly brown with white cheeks and a red-based grey bill
(young birds lack the pink). It cannot be confused with any
other duck in its range.This species occurs on waters with a
degree of salinity, such as brackish lakes, estuaries and
mangrove swamps. The White-cheeked Pintail feeds on aquatic
plants and small creatures obtained by dabbling. The nest is
on the ground under vegetation and near water
Galapagos Shearwater; Puffinus lherminieri subalaris is adaptable as regards its preferred marine habitat; it can be found in pelagic, offshore and inshore waters. It feeds in a variety of methods, mainly diving out of flight, plunging underwater from a swimming position, and picking up food less than a bill's length underwater while "pattering" as if it were walking across the waves. It eats small fish, squid and planktonic crustaceans. Unlike other shearwaters, it is not commonly a ship-follower.The species is colonial, nesting in small burrows and crevices in rocks and on earthy slopes on atolls and rocky islets.
Noddy; Anous stolidus galapagensis is a
seabird from the tern family. The largest of the noddies, it
can be told from the closely related Black Noddy by its
larger size and plumage, which is dark brown rather than
black. The Brown Noddy is colonial, usually nesting on the
in elevated situations on cliffs or in short trees or
shrubs. It only occasionally nests on the ground. A single
egg is laid by the female of a pair each breeding season.
or Dark-rumped Petrel; Pterodroma phaeopygia
The Galapagos Petrel is
endemic marine bird that nests in areas of high humidity in
the highlands (generally above 200 m elevation) of five
islands: San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz, Santiago, Floreana, and
Isabela. In the past, the petrel population was severely
affected by introduced mammals. These introduced animals
depredated and altered the nesting colonies, placing the
petrel in the category of Critically Endangered species
listed in the Red Book of Threatened Birds. One of the
greatest threats to the population of petrels is the
presence of the Black Rat (Rattus rattus), an
introduced species that is the principal cause of mortality
of eggs and hatchlings of the species. Introduced plants
have also altered and restricted the nesting habitat. The
reproductive period of the petrels covers about eight months
of the year. A study carried out in 2002 showed an
egg-laying period between March to the end of October, with
a peak occurring during the first two weeks of August.