Galapagos Lava Gull
The Galapagos Island bird "Lava gull" is Earth's rarest gull.
If you could find the strangest gull on Earth, you must be visiting the Galapagos Islands.
In general, gulls are seabirds highly associated with human impact (garbage dumps, parking lots, etc).
Since they are opportunistic and somewhat scavengers, human inhabitation and development have certainly helped the gulls' establishment and reproductive success.
However, Galapagos does not fit in that scenario, and we even have two gull species: swallow-tail gull (nocturnal feeder) and lava gull.
Lava gulls have an endemic status, since they have only been reported from the Galapagos Archipelago
Their territorial behavior, well camouflaged dark grey plumage, a distinctive loud call (similar to a laughing gull but with a twist), and coastal nesting, make this gull an unusual species.
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Although the Galapagos Islands from Ecuador do have some scavenging resources (dead birds and sea lions), these are not enough for a large population of gulls.
A true ecological equilibrium is seen here with a clear relationship between population size versus the available food sources.
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It is estimated than no more than 400 pairs of gulls inhabit the Islands, and this means its world population. Thus, the reason for calling it the world's strangest gull.
The Islands and sites where this Galapagos Island bird can be best seen, include Santa Cruz Island (National Park dock), James (Puerto Egas), Genovesa ( Darwin Bay), and Fernandina Island (Punta Espinoza).
In many anchoring locations, it is quite common to have them on boat decks as permanent visitors.
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