Birdwatching in Galapagos – A Paradise for Birders

Birdwatching in Galapagos stands alone in terms of biodiversity and bird sighting opportunities. The archipelago’s 20 islands, more than 50 islets, and around 250 large rock formations have made a home for a huge variety of avian life.

Birders should also realize that birdwatching in Galapagos is different from in a rain forest. On the islands, birds, who have evolved without threats from natural predators, are approachable. They do not scare easily, and it is possible to observe them from close distances and for long periods of time. Even if you are not a keen birdwatcher now, the close contact that you can have with birds on the Galapagos will help you become one!

Birds to Keep An Eye Out For While Birdwatching in Galapagos

The most iconic birds of the Galapagos Islands await for you!

Galapagos Albatross

Galapagos Albatrosses Resting In The Bushes.
An Encounter With A Couple Of Albatrosses During Our Visit To Española Island.

Albatrosses are the skies’ most elegant fliers. These creatures can stay gliding in the air for months at a time without touching land. To spot the Galapagos Albatross you should visit Española Island, nearly the only place where these large birds nest, between late April and early December.

Red-billed Tropic Bird

One of the most elegant and impressive seabirds in Galapagos, red-billed tropicbirds are easy to identify because of their striking coral red bills. They also have a black stripe across their eyes and long white tail feathers.

Tropicbirds are skilled fliers and divers. They feed far out at sea where they are able to dive for fish and squid. When they return to shore they are able to land expertly in small crevices along rocky cliffs. These birds are easiest to observe in the afternoons. They nest on Española, Genovesa, and South Plaza Islands.

Blue-footed Booby

Galapagos Birds: Blue-Footed Boobies
Galapagos Blue-Footed Boobies Are An Endemic Species In The Enchanted Isles.

Perhaps the most iconic of the Galapagos bird species, the attraction of the blue-footed boobies is evident from its name. The shade of a boobies’ blue feet indicates the health of male individuals and is a factor in mate selection.  (Turquoise blue is the most desirable.)

Blue-footed boobies are known to frequent numerous islands and visitor sites, but the most important breeding colonies are on Española and North Seymour Islands.

American Flamingos

There are only just over 300 of this species left, but it’s possible to see them if you go to the right place. You’re likely to see Galapagos flamingos at Cormorant Point on Floreana Island and Bachas Beach on Santa Cruz.

In addition to their brilliant pink color, you can appreciate these birds for their fascinating biology. For example, both male and female flamingos feed a kind of glandular milk to their young.

Galapagos Short-eared Owl

Galapagos Birds: Short-Eared Owl
The Galapagos Short-Eared Owl Is Endemic To The Galapagos Islands

This is a subspecies of the short-eared owl, which is found all over the world. Due to a shortage of rodents on the islands, Galapagos owls have adapted to eat lava lizards. The short-eared owl has even adapted to hunt during the day so as to avoid competition with its fellow bird of prey, the Galapagos hawk.

You are most likely to see Galapagos short-eared owls on Genovesa Island.

Swallow-tailed Gull

The world’s only nocturnal gull can be found here in the Galapagos Islands. They feed at night, but you can spot them during the day along rocky cliffs of Genovesa, Española, San Cristobal, and Plazas Sur.

Updated:May 18, 2023

Published:January 27, 2017


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Galapagos Islands Lava Lizard

Galapagos Lava Lizards

The Galapagos lava lizards, like the sea lion, is one of those Galapagos animals that all visitors are bound to come across.


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National Geographic Traveller

A Font of information, Klaus has spent decades in the field, leading tours in the Amazon, Andes and Galapagos Islands. He hung up his guiding boots a few years back and now creates itineraries for the tour operator, Metropolitan Touring. Adrift in the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles from mainland South America, Galapagos is one of the most biodiverse locales on Earth.

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Santa Cruz II is a replacement for the much-loved Santa Cruz, which plied the waters of the Galapagos for 36 years. It is not a new ship; it was built in 2002 and sailed as Mare Australis under the Australis cruise brand, operating expedition cruises around Cape Horn and to Antarctica. Metropolitan Touring bought the ship in 2015 and completely refurbished it, launching it as Santa Cruz II in October 2015.

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Itinerario de 5 días / 4 noches: Basado en la tarifa regular (4214 USD + impuestos por persona)
Itinerario de 7 días / 6 noches: Basado en la tarifa regular (5672 USD + impuestos por persona)
No reembolsable. Aplica únicamente para residentes ecuatorianos en nuevas reservas directas realizadas, hasta el 30 de junio del 2022, con un ejecutivo de ventas del hotel. Válido para estadías hasta el 31 de agosto de 2022. No puede ser combinada con otros descuentos, promociones u ofertas. El descuento no aplica para otros servicios. El precio no incluye recargo de combustible de $20 por noche de crucero.

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