Nesting along the coast and frequently spotted on just about every island, you’ll be mesmerized by the stunning blues of their feet. The males whistle and the females honk!
Limited Distribution Species – Found only on Fernandina and the west coast of Isabela. The flightless or Galapagos cormorant is the world’s biggest and heaviest cormorant. It is also the only one that has lost its ability to fly. This has required adaptations: Uniquely, Galapagos cormorants have solid bones and feathers that have become fur-like and lack oil for lubrication.
One of the largest birds in the Galapagos that can only be found on Española Island, specifically during the Dry Season, as they are one of the few migratory birds here.
Considered by some an endemic subspecies to Galapagos, has a very small breeding population restricted to those islands where brackish lagoons have the ideal conditions for brine shrimp and small invertebrates: food for the flamingos. Males are slightly larger than females and juveniles lack the striking pink color in their plumage. Both parents raise a single chick by feeding it “crop milk”. They breed for the first time when they are five years old, generally in July.
The smallest of all seals, with females weighing just around 30kg (66lb) and males around 80kg (177 lb). Their ancestors arrived from the extreme southern tip of South America and they were able to adapt to tropical conditions by substantially modifying their feeding and reproductive strategies.
This is both the largest bird of prey and the top of the terrestrial food chain. Females are noticeably larger than males and may include various males in their territories, a strategy known as polyandry. Galapagos hawks can be seen in all main islands except in those with human settlements and on Genovesa, probably because of the absence of their key food, the lava lizard.
This endemic species of penguin can, on specific islands, be found torpedoing around the water or ambling along the rocky coasts. Bonus points if you get to snorkel alongside one!
Genetic research shows that the Galapagos sea lion is a separate species from its ancestor, the California sea lion. It is also much smaller. In length, it ranges from 150 to 250 cm (59 to 98 in). Males are much larger than females, weighing as much larger than females, weighing as much as 200 kg (440lb) while females show an average weight of 75 kg (166 lb). Currently, there are approximately 20,000 sea lions on the islands.
Massive yet incredibly slow, these spectacular creatures can weigh up to 550 pounds (250 kilograms)! In the Galapagos, you’ll get to see them ambling about the lush and green areas up in the highlands.
The so-called “Pirates of the Sea” that are often seen pursuing other birds and attempting to snatch their food away. The red, leathery pouch under the throat of males is striking to see when it’s inflated as part of its courtship display.
Play an important role as endemic resident herbivores: their largely vegetarian feeding habits are responsible for the dispersal of several plants. The Galapagos land iguana lives on several islands, making it the most widely distributed land iguana of the Galapagos.
Orriginally considerer a subspecies of the masked booby, is the largest of the three species of resident boobies. It prays on fish found between islands, thus avoiding competition with the other two species. Two large separate breeding populations are present in Genovesa and Española islands. However, foraging birds may be seen on most islands.
Limited distribution species. The booby with the largest population, the red-footed booby (Sula sula) is, ironically, the most rarely seen Galapagos booby because it feeds on the outskirts of the archipelago´s waters, leading its populations to nest on outlying islands such as Genovesa may be seen elsewhere. Its beak is light blue, turning to pink around the mouth, and its feet are characteristically red, while its plumage varies from white to brown.
Island Exclusive Species – Occurs only on Santa Fe Island, The Santa Fe Land Iguana, with smaller dorsal spines and a paler colour and tapered snout, lives only on little Santa Fe Island. Sporting colors that make it blend in perfectly with its environment, it is somewhat more difficult to observe than other land iguanas.