Darwins Finches

Darwin Finch

darwins finches

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:

  • Galapagos Islands in Ecuador and
  • Cocos Island in Costa Rica

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.

Find Cheap Airline Tickets to the Galapagos Islands here

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.

See a Gallery of Beautiful Pictures of Galapagos Islands

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.

Recommended Reading

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides). Click to order from Amazon

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. Click to order from Amazon

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. Click to order from Amazon

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. Click to order from Amazon

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. Click to order from Amazon

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 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

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