Bird Watching in the Galapagos Islands
When one takes into consideration the fact that Ecuador barely covers 0.02% of the world’s land mass, it is incredible to hear that this tiny country is the habitat of around 10% of bird species found in the world today. Home to roughly 1600 species of birds, most of which are endemic, this small South American nation is a true birding paradise. With nearly 450 bird species found living around the coastal regions of the country, including the Galapagos Islands, this part of Ecuador is must visit for bird lovers and nature enthusiasts alike.
Of the many fascinating features of the pristine Galapagos Islands, perhaps its most intriguing is that the wealth of wildlife found here, which is simply astounding. From the many migratory and endemic species of birds, to the subspecies of tortoises and endemic iguanas found on the various islands, a visit to the Galapagos is truly incredible. The bird life here in particular, is very rich and if one is careful, people say that you can see up to 40 species of birds in a single week, making these islands a bird watcher’s delight. While a high percentage of birds can be spotted on the uninhabited islands of the Galapagos, a plethora of birds can simply be seen by just looking outside your window!
Today, there are over 58 species of birds residing in the Galapagos, of which 28 are endemic, while the remaining birds migrate here during colder climes in the northern/southern hemisphere. To catch a glimpse of the sheer magnitude of birds living on the islands, visit the Isla Espanola and Isla Genovesa any time of the year to be truly amazed and delighted.
Of the many bird species found here, perhaps the most famous are the 13 endemic species of Darwin’s finches. These birds have been named after Charles Darwin, as they were used to formulate his theory of evolution and natural selection. Other popular endemic land birds in the Galapagos include; the Galapagos Hawk, the large-billed Galapagos Flycatcher, the Galapagos Dove, the Galapagos Martin, the Galapagos Rail, four species of Galapagos mockingbirds and 2 species of Galapagos owls.
While many of the seabirds in the Galapagos are not endemic, they are indeed a spectacular sight to watch. Try and get a glimpse of the beautiful Frigatebirds, which have the largest wing span of any bird, or watch the cute and comical Boobies trying to court each other. For something really extraordinary catch the endemic Galapagos Penguin in action or look for the magnificent Waved Albatross to fly overhead. The Flightless Cormorant, the Swallow-tailed Gull, the Lava Gull, the Brown Pelican, the Great Blue Heron, the Greater Flamingo, the American Oystercatcher and the Black-necked Stilt are also a few of the more common birds found in the Galapagos.