The Galapagos Flamingo Courtship Season

It’s courtship season for the Galapagos flamingo! The months of July and August are the best time of the year for those avid bird watchers who would like to see these beautiful birds (also a Big15 favorite) in action. Seen in both the Santa Cruz II’s Northern and Western Islands Itineraries, the American flamingo, or Phoenicopterus ruber, is always a treat to watch. Its vibrant color, funny-looking legs, elegant neck, and the fact that it is the only one of its species found this far to the southwest, make it a spectacle. Learn a little more about this beautiful bird before heading to your magical Galapagos cruise and have your camera ready to capture the Galapagos Flamingo as it shows off with its best moves.

Galapagos Flamingo Courtship Moves

Unlike their cousins in other parts of the world where they can be found by the hundreds, Galapagos flamingos have adapted to breed in smaller groups. This is perhaps due to the fact that in the Galapagos they are found in much smaller numbers and are very limited in their distribution. The Flamingo is such a highly sociable bird that even their courtship rituals and nesting habits occur in groups. When courting, many individuals parade and participate in an intricate dance. They walk slowly from one side to the other with their necks cocked up, while flashing their primary feathers – the feathers at the tip of their wings, which usually have the brightest dark and pink colors. Even though they are believed to be a monogamous species (just like their distant relatives – the penguins) they have also been observed in trios, male couples, female couples, or small groups.

Video credit: Olga Hanninen

Where can they be seen?

Just a few of the Galapagos Islands hold the appropriate conditions for these birds to flourish. Brackish-water lagoons are preferred by the flamingo, and not all islands have the geological characteristics that allow such formations. But flamingos are excellent long-distance flyers and they can move easily from island to island and from the lagoon to lagoon, in search of food and more favorable conditions. Even though the main breeding lagoons of the Galapagos flamingo are found in the southern region of Isabela Island, other smaller lagoons in the islands of Floreana, Santa Cruz, and sometimes San Cristobal, are common sighting areas.

How Do They Get Their Pink Colouring?

There are two reasons behind the emblematic color of these birds emblematic. The first one is connected to their diet, consisting mainly of brine shrimp or Artemia.  This crustacean is especially rich in carotenoids – a plant pigment that causes some fruits and vegetables to be red, yellow, and orange. These hues are then transferred to their feathers. Interesting fact: the Galapagos flamingo is the brightest-colored flamingo in the world. The second reason is its uropygial gland located near the base of its tail, which transfers the pink pigments to its coat. It’s no wonder both that the etymology behind both it’s common and scientific is derived from its striking color. Flamingo, from the Spanish and Portuguese flamengo, or flame-colored, comes from the old word flamenc, meaning flame. On the other hand, Phoenicopterus literally translates from the Greek to blood-feathered.

Close Up Of An American Flamingo.
The Galapagos Flamingos Are Smaller Than Other Types Of Flamingos Found In North America.

Updated:May 8, 2023

Published:July 18, 2017


Machu Picchu & Galapagos Islands Tour 2024 Package: 12 days / Quito, Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu / From USD 9,598 per person



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This small, secret rooftop of the restored Casa Gangotena mansion peers over Plaza San Francisco in the center of Quito’s colonial Old Town, the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Order a Cedrón Spritz, a refreshing mix of rum, lemon, sparkling wine, and fresh lemon verbena (cedrón) syrup and leaf, then revel in the mesmerizing, real-time montage of daily life in Ecuador’s capital as it parades past.

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.

Cruise Critic

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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When this modern, minimalist, glass-walled jungle lodge opened in 2012, it changed the accommodation game in South America. Arquitect Alfredo Ribadeneira’s “protective cocoon” would impress in a modern city; in the depths of an Andean cloudforest, it is wild, audacious and beautiful. Though only 70 miles from Quito, Maspi Lodge sits in splendid isolation, perched on a cliff at the end of an unsealed road.

Terms and Conditions

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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