Galapagos Birds

Most Galapagos birds are unique and are considered among the most exotic in the world... a paradise for birdwatching!


Birdwatching is one of the most amazing experiences in these Islands. Most of its birds are endemic and are unique to the Galapagos Islands.

Read good and concise descriptions on each bird, from waved albatrosses to blue and red footed birds. From nazca boobies to flightless cormorant, and more...


galapagos birds albatross

This Galapagos bird, Waved Albatross is found around the East Pacific. With a wingspan of 11 feet (3.5 m.) an albatross can follow wind currents for days.

Their only home in Galapagos is Espanola (Hood) Island where spectacular courtship-displays amaze any visitor. Albatrosses depart their lovely grounds by early January and return by early April.

They follow the cold waters back to the coast of South America. When the southeast trade winds come back, they not only bring cool nutrient-rich waters, but the albatrosses as well.

Among the many interesting features of the waved albatross is the feeding mechanism of their young: fish oil! What an adaptation for long-feeding trips in the ocean. More About the Albatross Bird


red footed galapagos bird

These Galapagos birds are the only ones with prehensile feet. They nest on Palo Santo trees or bushes.

A precocious group, red-footed boobies start mating when they still have their juvenile plumage (which may explain the healthy size of the colony).

Most abundant in the "Galapagos Bird Island" of Genovesa (Tower).

It is Worth mentioning: that in the Galapagos wildlife red footed boobies are the most numerous of all, but the least seen of all.

Reason: their nesting colonies are found along the peripheral islands of Galapagos. Read More Galapagos Island Information here


blue footed galapagos bird

These are the Galapagos birds known as fearless divers -- from 100 feet (30 mt) or more, and picturesque dancers with their beaks pointing up to the sky, while stomping the ground with their huge bright blue webbed feet.

Favorite nesting Galapagos Islands are: EspaƱola, the Daphnes, Isabela and North Seymour Island

Look for their courtship display: pelican dance and sky pointing. Their loud calls will get your attention: males whistle, while females honk. Look carefully at their eyes: it seems one has a larger pupil than the other one. Which is male, which is female?

Females seem to have larger pupils because more black pigmentation is present around their pupils. Did you guess right? More About the Blue Footed Boobie Bird

Find Cheap Airline Tickets to the Galapagos Islands here


nazca boobies in galapagos

These Galapagos birds are the largest of the three species. Big nesting colonies are found in Genovesa and Espanola Islands in Galapagos.

Usually, they lay and hatch two eggs, but if so, the younger chick is left out, and the older one is raised in better survival conditions.

This is known as sibling murder. Check this out: eggs are laid five days apart, and so they hatch five days apart.

If you happen to see this, you'll notice an incredible size difference between the two chicks. Scientists wonder why such high investment of energy ends up in the loss of one of the two chicks. Natural selection at work!  More Information About these Birds of the Galapagos Islands


flightless cormorant in galapagos

A flightless Galapagos bird, it lives in the westernmost Islands, Fernandina and Isabela, where there is plenty of food and nesting habitat for this unusual seabird.

In islands with plenty of food and safety, the cormorants had no practical use for their wings and, simply, by means of natural selection, became flightless.

In fact, it is the only cormorant in the world that does not fly. You can even count the number of feathers on each wing!

These Islands are also known for its Giant Galapagos Tortoises. Click here to learn more about them


galapagos frigate birds

The Frigate birds, also called Man O'War, are the kind of Galapagos birds that belong to the sea though they are virtually not waterproof! What a contradiction!

They are large (almost 6 feet/1.8 m. wingspan), lightweight and have a long, hooked beak to catch fish without getting wet.

Frigates have an easier way to get food: stealing from other Galapagos birds, specially red-footed boobies (this is, naturally, a survival strategy).

And when it is time to raise a family, they settle in others' nests, or abscond with some sticks.

Male frigates have shiny green or purple plumage (depending on the species) and a resplendent scarlet pouch, which is displayed in courtship. There are two species of frigates in Galapagos:

The Magnificent Frigate Bird and the Great Frigate Bird. Their main nesting colonies are found in Genovesa (Tower) and North Seymour Islands. More About Frigatebirds

Galapagos Islands Family Adventure Review. Click here for details


swallow tail gulls galapagos birds

Amongst the unusual list of Galapagos birds, we find an endemic sea bird. Endemism in sea birds is low due to their high dispersal ability, but given the right isolating conditions, the resulting adaptations are quite interesting.

Generally, gulls are diurnal, gregarious (social), scavengers, opportunistic, frequently seen in human-related areas (landfills, parks, garbage cans, etc), and nest in more inland locations.

In Galapagos, we have two resident gull species, and both are endemic species (swallow-tail gull and lava gull). See a Complete Review About the Galapagos Lava Gull Bird

The swallow-tail gull (Creagrus furcatus) is the world's only night-feeding gull. It pursuits live animals at open sea (like squid and nocturnal fish), it is not a gregarious hunter, and nests along the coastline or in some cases in cliffs (Genovesa, South Plaza). It feeds between 16-32 Km (10-20 miles) from the coastline.

These features make them quite different from all other gull species, and thus its endemic status.

More Galapagos Birds:

Galapagos Sea Birds Read a description of the most important sea birds you will see in the Galapagos Islands.

Galapagos Hawk Is one of the largest birds of the Galapagos Islands, it is an endemic species.

Galapagos Finches These little sparrow-like birds, are the most incredible lesson in natural selection.

Galapagos Ground Finch It is also endemic to these Islands. These birds have strong beaks which are useful for feeding.

Galapagos Great Blue Heron Is the largest of the Galapagos herons and can be found nesting on most of the bigger Islands like Isabela, Santa Cruz and San Cristobal.

Galapagos Heron The Heron in Galapagos is the only endemic species of herons in the Islands.

Galapagos Lava Heron The Galapagos Lava Heron is very tame and you can take beautiful photos of it at close distances.

Galapagos American Oystercatcher This handsome bird has a bright red bill (which is both a hammer and a knife) and uses it as an oyster shell opener.

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!


Planning on Visiting Galapagos?
Here are Five Recommended Galapagos Tours:

  1. Economic Galapagos Tours (Sea and Land) See More About our Affordable Galapagos Trips
  2. Explore Galapagos Islands staying at Finch Bay Hotel
  3. Discover the Galapagos on board Santa Cruz M/V ship, built exclusively for sailing in Galapagos. Click here to read more
  4. Experience the Galapagos Islands nature on board Isabela II deluxe yacht. Click here for an extensive review
  5. NEW! La Pinta Luxury Yacht. Read the complete details here

If you have any questions about Galapagos Birds, or if you'd like assistance to book one of our recommended Galapagos Island Tours to explore this Archipelago, You can Contact us here

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