Galapagos Penguin Courtship Displays: Things Are Heating Up in the Archipelago!

It is during this time of the year that Galapagos penguin courtship displays are in full swing over at Bartolome Island, specifically. Monogamous by nature, Galapagos penguins (a prestigious member of our BIG15 group of iconic species) are tremendously devoted to their mate. They are special in two senses of the word: on one side they are the only penguins found north of the equator; on the other, they are hugely devoted to the upbringing of their baby penguins as a team. It’s an endearing experience to watch Galapagos penguin courtship displays, as it is then that we as guests in the Galapagos manage to glimpse the powerful forces of attraction that are constantly at work in the archipelago.

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Galapagos penguin courtship displays – ceasing the ideal (romantic) moment

Galapagos penguin courtship displays lead to monogamous bonds, which means they only happen once. Couples are hugely affectionate and will preen each other and often hug or tap each other on the back with their fins or even go so far as to tap their beaks together, almost like giving each other Eskimo kisses. All of this is done to reinforce the bond they have as a couple.

Galapagos Penguins
Group Of Penguins In The Galapagos Islands

But the occurrence of their courtship depends not only on sexual attraction but on the environment as well. Galapagos penguins are what are known as opportunistic breeders, which means that they will take advantage of the times and moments that are specifically abundant in food (typically during periods of pronounced upwelling). Should times get rough and scarce in terms of food, the Galapagos penguin will simply wait around and, fortunately for them, won’t have to waste any extra time or energy on having to find and court a mate (as they are monogamous for life). Quickly being able to breed whenever they please and circumstances allow is a huge bonus for these creatures.

Galapagos Penguin
The Galapagos Islands Penguin Is The Only One You Can Find North Of The Equator

The fruits of galapagos penguin breeding

Should times be optimal, beings will produce an average of two eggs. The incubation process is shared between the male and the female for a period of around 40 days. The couples usually have a habit of using cracks and depressions in lava rock to help protect their eggs from the harsh Galapagos sun and overheating. Once their babies hatch, the chicks will quickly develop plumage to help protect their sensitive skin from the sun, usually a month after hatching. Galapagos penguins also share the task of bringing food to the chick throughout this period.

The sounds they make are more similar to a donkey than an actual bird and make said sounds to either identify their mate or offspring.

Popular places for spotting the galapagos penguin

Because the archipelago is a protected area, reaching islands where you can spot the Galapagos penguins can add up your Galapagos tour. However, the majority of Galapagos penguins tend to congregate in islands such as Bartolome, Fernandina, and Isabela, all of them available in our itineraries! Keep in mind that they still frequent other islands such as Santiago, Floreana, Isabela, and northern Santa Cruz Island as well, but in much smaller numbers and much more rarely.

Snorkelling Galapagos Penguins
Snorkeling Is One Of The Underwater Activities You Can Do In The Galapagos Islands

They’re incredibly fast compared to the slow waddle that guests often get to witness on the shores of the aforementioned islands. So if you’re snorkeling, be prepared to be humbled by how fast they can be in the water, and how curious they are of visitors.

Updated:May 8, 2023

Published:September 27, 2017


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



Condé Nast Traveler ONLINE

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.

Telegraph Ultra Travel: 50 Greatest Hotels in the World

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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