The second installment in our Galapagos series 😀
The Galapagos is not all gulls and seabirds – it also has its share of land birds – birds who have braved storms to fly to the islands! Here are just a few.
1. Galapagos Dove
The Galapagos Dove (Zenaida galapagoensis) can be found mainly on the more arid parts of the main islands. Unlike most other doves, their beaks are larger and more downward-curved. They are reddish-brown, with black and white markings on the wings. They have blue eyes and patches of white beneath their eyes. Charles Darwin remarked that he was able to kill a dove by throwing his hat at it. It is apparently a reluctant flyer, explaining why Darwin was able to kill it. They are also extremely tame!
Diet: Seeds, fruits, cactus pulp (their main source of water)
Funfact: Galapagos Doves pollinate some of the cactus plants on the islands!
2. Galapagos Flycatcher
The Galapagos Flycatcher (Myiarchus magnirostris), otherwise known as the Large-Billed Flycatcher, is a small brown and dull-looking bird with a white throat, slightly yellow-tinged underparts and a rufous tail. Apparently, they have remarkable crests, but unfortunately we were not able to see them.
Funfact: On hot afternoons, they can be seen taking dust baths!
3. Galapagos Hawk
Galapagos Hawks (Buteo galapagoensis) are large hawks of a sooty dark-brown colour with slightly lighter underparts and black-tipped yellow beaks. Unfortunately, the population of these birds has declined due to competition between the hawks and introduced predators such as cats. It is estimated that there are only 150 mating pairs left :(
Diet: Small lizards, snakes, rodents, hatchling sea turtles and tortoises, and even marine iguanas!
Funfact: They are the only species of bird of prey living in the Islands.
4. Galapagos Mockingbird
The Galapagos Mockingbird (Mimus parvulus) is one of four mockingbirds that can be found in the Galapagos. There are six subspecies of these mockingbirds that are endemic to a particular island or particular islands. They are mainly brown in colour, with dull and light underparts, brown-streaked feathers and black eye rings. They are more commonly seen running on the ground than flying.
Diet: Seeds, invertebrates, nectar, small vertebrates, sea bird eggs
Funfact: They are cooperative breeders, meaning breeding pairs occupy individual nests but defend group territory collectively. It is not unusual for breeders to help raise nestlings that are not their own.
5. Yellow Warbler
The Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechial) is not endemic to the Galapagos Islands. It is very adorable and is one of our favourite birds! ❤ Males are bright yellow with brown streaks in the front and a red streak on the head, while females are duller and of a more light olive-brown colour.
Diet: Mainly on insects, sometimes small fruit and berries
6. Large Ground Finch
The Large Ground Finch is one of Darwin’s Finches (otherwise known as Galapagos Finches). Darwin studied this group of finches and found out that the finches in the Galapagos varied in size, beaks and claws depending on the island they inhabited. The Large Ground Finch is the largest out of all of the Galapagos Finches. They are dark brown and have streaks in the front.
Diet: Large insects, seeds
Next up will be a post on other seabirds! Watch out 😀
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays ~