Galapagos Wildlife highlights   Leave a comment

The Galapagos Islands offers its visitors the unique opportunity to witness an amazing number and variety of strange and unusual wildlife, many of which are endemic (unique) to the Islands.

Due to the extensive number and variety of wildlife found in the Galapagos Islands, this section only covers a basic, highlighted list of wildlife that the Islands have to offer.


WAVED ALBATROSS [diomedea irrorata]

Characteristics

There are 13 species of albatross in the world. The waved albatross is one of the most magestic birds in the archipelago. It is endemic not only to Galapagos but also to Española Island.

Where they can be found

The population is estimated at about 15,000 pairs and can only be found on Española Island between mid-April and mid-December (the other months are spent in the open sea of the Pacific Ocean).



BLUE-FOOTED BOOBIE [sula nebouxii]

Characteristics

This is the most common variety. The Galapagos subspecies is endemic. It has a lifespan of about 15 to 20 years. Unlike its red-footed relative, the blue-footed boobie fishes inshore & nests on the coast.

The male is lighter than the female and plunge-dives more easily than the female. It is recognized by the black pinpoint pupil of the eye, while the dark iris coloration of the female gives the impression that her pupil is larger. The male whistles and the female honks.

Where they can be found

The population of the blue-footed boobies has been estimated at 10,000, but it may be much more. Large colonies are found on Española (Punta Suarez), Daphne, Isabela (Tagus Cove & Punta Vicente Roca) & Fernandina (Cape Douglas).



FLAMINGO [phoenicopterus ruber]

Characteristics

Rare in Galapagos but found in seven saltwater lagoons.

Where they can be found

The population is estimated at about 600, and found at Espumilla Beach (Santiago), Villamil (Isabela), Punta Cormorant (Floreana) and Rabida.



GALAPAGOS FUR SEA LION [arctocephalus galapagoensis]

Characteristics

The fur sea lion may be easily distinguished frfom the sea lion by its smaller size, its pointed nose, and big round eyes.

Where they can be found

They can be found in Puerto Egas (Santiago), Fernandina, Darwin & Wolf.



GIANT TORTOISE [geochelone elephantopus]

Characteristics

Only two island groups in the world are inhabited by giant tortoises: Aldabra Island (Seychelles) and the Galapagos Islands.

Where they can be found

There are three types: Saddleback (found on Española, Pinzon, Pinta & Fernandina); Dome-shaped (found on Santa Cruz & Isabela); Intermediate (found on Santiago, Española, Santa Cruz).



GALAPAGOS HAWK [buteo galapgoensis]

Characteristics

This magnificent endemic predator has dark brown plumage, a tail striped with white, and yellow legs. They build their nests in trees and rocks.

Where they can be found

The hawk is common to Pinzon, Santiago and Isabela, but can occaisionally be found on Floreana, San Cristobal and Santa Cruz.



LAND IGUANA [conolophus subcristatus or pallidus]

Characteristics

This endemic genus has two species. Yellow-orange to brown, the land iguana differs from the green iguana by a lack of fear towards man.

Where they can be found

Widely found throughout the archipelago, but most noticeably on Isabela, Fernandina, Santa Cruz, South Plazas, Santa Fe.



MARINE IGUANA [amblyrhynchus cristatus]

Characteristics

An endemic genus with one species and seven subspecies. They only marine iguana in the world, the Galapagos species is found along shoreline on lava rocks.

Where they can be found

The population is estimated at about 300,000, is found throughout the archipelago, including Española, South Plazas, Genovesa, Isabela.



MARINE TURTLE [chelonidae agassizi]

Characteristics

There are four species of marine turtle found in the Galapagos, those being Leatherback, Olive ridley, Hawksbill & Green Turtle.

Where they can be found

Widely found throughout the open waters of the archipelago.



NAZCA BOOBIE [sula granti]

Characteristics

Formerly known as the masked boobie but was discovered to be a new species in 2001. The heaviest of the three boobies, males weighing 1.6 kilos, while females are larger at 1.8 kilos.

Where they can be found

The population is estimated at about 25,000, with the largest colony found at Punta Suarez (Española). They are also found on Genovesa, Wolf & Darwin.



GALAPAGOS PENGUIN [spheniscus mendiculus]

Characteristics

The Galapagos penguin is endemic.

Where they can be found

The population of Galapagos penguins are generally limited to the waters around Bartolome, Rabida, Sombrero Chino, Floreana, the west coast of Isabela (and the Bolivar Channel), and Fernandina.



RED-FOOTED BOOBIE [sula sula]

Characteristics

This is the lightest boobie, weighing only about a kilogram. The body is light brown and with a bluish beak. The red feet are adapted to grip branches, thus it is the only boobie to nest in trees.

Where they can be found

The population is estimated at about 250,000, with the largest colony found on Genovesa.



SEA LION [zalophus californianus]

Characteristics

Abunndant in the archipelago, sea lions gather in colonies on sand or on rocks. The adult male weighs up to 250 kilos.

Where they can be found

throughout the archipelago.

Posted March 31, 2009 by sangay in GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

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