We saw lots of birds while we were in the Galapagos. Of course, we saw the Darwin finches. The problem was that they’re fairly nondescript, and you’d need to examine them fairly closely to tell the differences from island to island. Not being an ornithologist, about all I came away with was that they look a lot like sparrows, particularly the females. The males are darker-colored, as shown in this photo, so they look less like sparrows to me.
The birds that were both common and more noticeable were the warblers. This is a male (I think), denoted by the red markings. The ones without the red markings are, I believe, the females.
It was surprising to me that there were flamingos on the islands. It turns out that they’re considered a native species.
We also got to see the Galapagos Mockingbird. This is one that Tim, our guide, coaxed into view while we were on our hike around Volcan Negra.
One of the famous birds of the Galapagos is the Blue-footed Booby. There are actually three species of Booby in the islands – the Blue-footed, the Red-footed, and the Nazca. We didn’t see any of the Red-footed, and saw the Nazca only at a distance. We did, as you can see, get close enough to at least one Blue-footed Booby to show just how blue the feet and legs really are.
We also saw the Galapagos Penguin, the second-smallest penguin in the world, and the only species of penguin found in equatorial waters.
Frigate birds are found world-wide. It was getting to be the start of the breeding season, and the males were making their displays. This was on a small, uninhabited island that we passed, not much more than a large rock. It did have a number of birds roosting there, as well as marine iguanas.
On the same island, I got my only photo of a red-billed Tropicbird, which has a distinctive long tail. As you can tell, it’s an action shot. I consider myself lucky to have gotten it – I only saw three tropicbirds during the trip, and none of them were posing for us.
Another bird we saw was a Night Heron, which was hanging around a nature preserve. Actually, most of the land area of the Galapagos (about 97%) is nation park/nature preserve. Only four of the islands have permanent population, ranging from about 120 on Floreana to about 10,000.
We saw other birds, such as pelicans, sandpipers, and Calfornia oystercatchers. On one of our inter-island legs (Santa Cruz to Floreana), the boat crew identified some birds as albatross, but they were too far away to get good photos, even with my telephoto lens.