Galapagos Ground Finch

The Galapagos Ground Finch is endemic to this group of beautiful Islands in the Pacific Ocean.


These birds have strong beaks which are useful for feeding from seeds. The Galapagos finches eat parasites from the backs of Land Iguanas,

Marine Iguanas and Giant Tortoises and they also feed on the eggs of these animals.

galapagos ground finch

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There is an interesting finch bird on Wolf Island, it is the Sharp Beaked Ground Finch.

This bird is known as the Vampire Finch because it pecks the flesh of the backs of masked boobies, red footed boobies and Blue Footed Boobies to feed on their blood.

Other species like the Woodpecker finch and Mangrove finch use small brushwood or a cactus spine to pull out the larva found in dead tree branches.

These are the only birds in the world that use this technique and it is quite a view to observe them feeding.

Male ground finches are black while the female finches are brownish. There are four species of Galapagos ground finches:

1) Sharp-Beaked Finch: (Geospiza nebulosa) belong to the highlands of the central and western islands.

This ground finch is called the vampire finch, for its feeding habit of drinking blood from boobies.

2) Small Ground Finch: (Geospiza fuliginosa) is very common throughout the Galapagos Islands except on Genovesa Island and Darwin Island.

3) Medium Ground Finch: (Geospiza fortis) can be seen in the major Islands (Isabela, Santa Cruz, San Cristobal) except in the smaller ones like Espanola or Genovesa.

4) Large Ground Finch: (Geospiza magnirostris) is less common and can be found only in the bigger Islands.

All these finch species have similar appearance, color and behavior.

It is a real challenge for birdwatchers to differentiate or guess the species to which each Galapagos ground finch belongs.

In total there are 13 species of Galapagos Finches which are classified by groups:

Ground finches, Tree finches, Vegetarian finches, Cactus finches and Mangrove finches.

The size of the Galapagos ground finch as most of other finch species is about 10 to 20 cm. Finches are similar in appearance but can be identified mainly by the form of their beaks.

Ground Finch Classification

Common Name Genus Species Sharp-beaked ground Finch Geospiza Difficilis Small Ground Finch Geospiza Fuliginosa Medium Ground Finch Geospiza Fortis Large Ground Finch Geospiza Magnirostris

The Galapagos ground finch is part of the amazing Galapagos Wildlife When you visit the Islands you will have the opportunity to see them all around you, look at their beaks and try to identify the species to which they belong.

It's a fun task to try to identify them after being there a while, though it is not easy, especially with the Galapagos ground finch.

And there are more beautiful birds to look for in Galapagos, like: Hawks, Flamingos, Lava Gulls, Galapagos Boobies, Pelicans, Nazca Boobies, Great Blue Herons, and much more.

Recommended Reading

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)
With 250 photos and tons of great information, this is an essential addition to your pre-Ecuador and -Galapagos reading! There are better guides if you are only interested in the islands, but for a combination trip taking in Ecuador as well, it's hard to beat.

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands
Small enough to fit into your pocket, yet containing comprehensive information and pictures of all the species you will encounter in the islands, this book is a must-have for nature lovers. Let's face it, Galapagos is largely about the wildlife. This book will NOT disappoint, and you'll have a great memento of your time with the seals, penguins and tortoises!

Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World

Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World
Definitely NOT a tourist's guide, but if you're like me, and find the history and geography of the islands irresistible, then this is a title you ought to invest in. Stunningly illustrated, and painstakingly researched, those of you who have been there will be enchanted again -- and those of you who have not will begin planning your trip!

Moon Spotlight Galapagos Islands

Moon Spotlight Galapagos Islands
If you're a seasoned Galapagos regular, then you will probably prefer something weightier. But for first-timers looking for simple, down-to-earth advice on where to go, what to see and the best shopping and eating on the islands, this is the book for you. Small, well-priced, and reliable!

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire
The 10th anniversary edition of this photographer's tour of the Galapagos Islands is a stunning book, worthy of anybody's coffee table. This is a perfect post-trip talking point -- a great way to remember what you've seen, and spread the word amongst your envious friends!

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If you have any questions about Galapagos Birds or these Islands, 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

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