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WILDLIFE GALAPAGOS

 

BIRDS

 

Watching the Galapagos Birds is a wonderful experience that will remain in your memory for a long time. Many of the birds in the Galapagos Islands are endemic, especially the Penguins that are the only species of penguins in the world that live in a tropical climate. Galapagos birds are classified into 3 main species: Pelicaniformes, Sphenisciphromes, and Procellariformes

Is a unique bird, recognizable mainly by the intense blue color of its webbed feet. Its name in English “booby” comes from the word “bobo” due to the clumsiness of this bird in earth. The blue-footed boobies are excellent hunters, they see their prey as they fly, and to capture it they head off into the ocean from a height of up to 30 meters.

 

Where to See Them:

North Seymour, Espanola and San Cristobal Island.
 
Most red-footed boobies are brown, but there are a small percentage that are naturally white and black. As suggested by the name, adults always have red feet, but the colour of the plumage varies. They are powerful and agile fliers, but they are clumsy in takeoffs and landings.
 

Where to See Them:

Genovesa Island is the best place in the Galapagos to observe these colorful birds, but you can find them too on San Cristobal, Darwin and Floreana islands.

 
The Nazca booby is the largest of the boobies found on the Galapagos. The species has a yellow iris, orange and pinkish beak, black facial skin in the form of a mask, and grey feet. Adults present white plumage with black tips of the wings and tail. The female is bigger and heavier than the male, has a slightly differently colored beak, and squawks while the male whistles.
 

Where to See Them:

Genovesa Island (Tower), Hood Island (Española) and Floreana Island.
 

The rarest and most endangered penguin species in the world, are the only penguins that can be found at the equator. Unlike most cold water penguins, they have several adaptations that allow them to tolerate the warmer climate of Galapagos. They spend their days in the water. An ocean current of cool water keeps their body heat down.

 

Where to See Them:

Fernandina, Isabela, Bartolome and Floreana Island.
 
These are large seabirds, easily distinguishable from the rest of the species living on the islands, the males have a red gular sac which it inflates to attract a mate. But if their color and size are not enough to impress the female, it slowly flies over a group of males and the males use a kind of “drumming” gently tapping its beak on this red and inflated crop, which ends convincing the female that this is a “worthy” male to reproduce.
 

Where to See Them:

Throughout the islands; the main nesting colonies are on Genovesa and North Seymour.

 
The waved albatross is the largest bird in Galapagos with a wingspan up to two and a half meters. Its wings are designed to plan, with which it reaches speeds of 90 km per hour.It can live up to 80 years.
 

The best places to see the Waved Albatross is on the Islands:

Espanola. But are commonly seen during a Galapagos cruise.

 
Is the only bird like it in the world. As the name suggests, they cannot fly away and are therefore confined to the lava shoreline and beaches of the Islands. They have stunted wings that are one third the size of the wingspan they would require to fly.
 

The best places to see the Flightless Cormorant is on the Islands:

Fernandina and Isabela.

 
Lives around the brackish waters of some lagoons located in several Islands of Galapagos. Flamingos are very shy birds. They love privacy specially when they are breeding and you cannot get too close to them and will normally only be viewed at some distance.
 

The best places to see the Greater Flamingo is on the Islands:

Isabela, Santa Cruz, Rabida and Floreana. But Flamingos are commonly seen during a Galapagos cruise.

 
These birds have very interesting characteristics. For example, they join their partner for life and make their nests in deep holes dug in the ground between the volcanic rocks of the high parts of the Islands. They are birds with great capacity of adaptation, but their existence has been threatened by the introduction of foreign species that cause predation and destruction of their habitats.
 

The best places to see the Galapagos Petrel is on the Islands:

Santa Cruz, Santiago, Floreana, Isabela and San Cristóbal.
 
The Swallow Tailed Gull is the only nocturnal gull in the world. Its night-adapted eyes allow it to feed miles from shore on fish and squid it captures from the surface of the ocean. It lays only one egg on the cliffs of all the Galapagos islands except Fernandina and Isabela. A type of fish that glows can be seen from above the water, making it easy for the Swallow Tailed Gull to see and attack it at night.
 

The best places to see the Swallow Tailed Gull is on the Islands:

 Genovesa and South Plaza.
 
One of the rarest gulls in the world, the entire population is endemic to the Galapagos Islands and is estimated at 400 pairs. Adult Lava Gull characteristics are a black head, black wings and with a dark grey body and a paler grey belly.
 

The best places to see the Lava Gull is on the Islands:

Santa Cruz Island (National Park dock), James (Puerto Egas), Genovesa, and Fernandina Island.
 
Though well camouflaged against lava, the lava heron is the most frequently seen of the Galapagos herons and the only endemic one.
They are a uniform grey colour, which acts as camouflage against the grey basalt rocks on which they dwell. The lava heron tends to be monogamous and they breed throughout the year, most often after heavy rainfall.
 

Where to see them:

The lava heron is commonly found on all islands in Galapagos, along the shore.
 
This Galapagos bird has a bright red beak (which is both a hammer and a knife) and uses it as an oyster shell opener. Using this stout, structurally-reinforced tool, the Galapagos american oystercatchers can stab a bivalve between the shells and quickly slice the strong muscles to get at the meat inside, or hammer away at the shell of a sea urchin, crab, or mollusk.
 

The best places to see the American Oystercatcher is on the Islands:

Genovesa, Marchena, San Cristobal, and Espanola Islands.
 
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Did You Know...

 

Blue-footed Boobies have a very elaborate mating ritual. The male raises one blue foot in the air, then the other, as he struts in front of the female. His movements make him appear to be dancing as he stamps his blue feet up and down on the ground.

To attract females, male Frigate birds will blow up their bright red throat pouch and skwalk loudly as females pass overhead. The females will then choose a suitable male and land next to him. The male responds by spreading his huge wings around the female to protect her from other males.

Galapagos flamingos often stand on one leg. It is theorized that this a resting position used to conserve body heat or reduce cardiac effort.  They may also be found resting in a seated position with their legs tucked under them. Flamingos appear to have good hearing but little or no sense of smell.

There are 7 different species of Lava Lizard on the Galapagos Islands.The male Lava Lizard looks quite different from the female whereby it is larger in size and more brightly coloured. The males throat is black and yellow and the females throat is mostly red. Colours and size also differ between the species and even within a species.

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