It is said that Darwins Finches were the inspiration for Charles Darwin in his Theory on the Origin of Species and Natural Selection.
Maybe the finches have the least publicity and advertisement in the Galapagos Islands, even though they are famous.
The Darwin Finches is a group of sparrow-sized birds that inhabit two different set of Islands:
If we want to speak correctly, then when we refer to finches in Galapagos we should call them Galapagos Finches. After all, these birds are endemic to this group of Islands.
At Cocos Island there is a single species called the Cocos Finch. So, to explain it better, there are 13 species of Galapagos Finches plus the one from Cocos Island, totaling 14 species.
But some scientific studies argue that there are actually 15 species of finches.
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Observing finches in Galapagos can be sometimes a true challenge for some visitors, and this is why you should bring a pair of binoculars to enjoy Galapagos bird watching better.
Some finches' details like beak depth, beak shape, feather patterns, sizes, etc, are easily aided by the use of binoculars.
A good model of binoculars for the Islands is 7 x 26 and they are quite portable. But of course, units in the 8x, 9x, 10x will give higher magnification of what you are seeing. As numbers increase in binoculars' models, size and weight will increase too.
As an example, we can compare the use of binoculars to the use of wet suits, you can do without them, but if you have them your experience will increase greatly.
There's no best time of the year for observing Darwins Finches, it is in fact anytime when you have a pair of binoculars.
The extraordinary adaptation that Darwins Finches in Galapagos developed to the different habitats that the Islands present was considered by Charles Darwin as an important proof when he formulated the Theory of Evolution.
During his expedition to the Galapagos Islands in 1835, Charles Darwin noticed that fiches differ considerably in their structure from one Island to another.
It is said by some scientists that these observations made on Galapagos finches inspired Darwin in his theory on the Origin of Species and Natural Selection.
Colonization, competition, feeding grounds, isolation, ecological setup, nesting habitat, age and altitude of the Galapagos Islands are important aspects that have to be considered when understanding Darwins Finches.
All of the different species of finches come from a single species similar to the Grassquit Finch (Volatina Jacarina).
This species is commonly found along the coasts of the Pacific Ocean in South America. Darwins Finches are all about the same size 10 to 20 cm. And to differentiate them between one species from another, you must look at the size and shape of their beaks.
Why? Because the beaks have evolved with time and are well adapted to different food sources like for pecking wood, crushing seeds, and probing flowers for nectar.
Minor variations in beak size design the evolutionary mechanism that allows species to be different. Biological terms like allopatric and sympatric speciation complement this idea better.
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The Galapagos Islands played an important roll during Charles Darwin's Voyage of the HMS Beagle. Next September and October 2010 we will be commemorating the 175th anniversary of Charles Darwin's visit to Galapagos.
When you visit the Galapagos Islands you will certainly see and feel the forces that make natural selection work.
Darwins finches and the Galapagos Islands will remain as living proof of evolutionary importance.
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If you have questions about Darwins Finches, You can post them on our Galapagos FAQ Page and if you'd like to request more information about our recommended Galapagos Land Tours to explore this Archipelago, You can Contact us here