When Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos and saw the range of wildlife there ranging in size from small to threateningly huge, he formed the concept of evolution that is still considered as the foremost theory of human evolution in the world.Today, we will visit the Galapagos Islands archipelago, the world’s most visited islands chain for watching endemic wildlife and incredible flora. Call it a wildlife tourism to Galapagos.
At the outset of visiting any remote island, we must know where it is located on the atlas. Unless we have the location of an island in our mind, we cannot truly visualize it.
Therefore, here is Galapagos Islands position off the western coast of South America.
Overview of Galapagos archipelago:
The Galapagos archipelago of islands is actually a province of Ecuador, the exotic South American country. By province, we will imagine something located close by to the capital or headquarters. However, Galapagos location from the nearest landmass of its motherland Ecuador is some 925 km away.
Galapagos Islands are located on the majestic Pacific Ocean, off the western coast of Ecuador.
Volcanic nature of Galapagos Islands.
There are as many as 21 volcanoes spread over the archipelago of Galapagos of which only 13 are active. Surely, it must be the hot spot in the world. The number of volcanoes present in the Galapagos remind me of Indonesia, another largest volcanic region in the world.
Interesting facts about Galapagos:
- The area of Galápagos Archipelago comprises of 7,880 sq.km
- The archipelago consists of 18 main islands, 3 smaller islands, and 107 islets. .
- The largest of the Galapagos Islands is “Isabela,”.
Galapagos Islands Animals, birds, and marine creatures:
Note: The majority of fauna and flora in Galapagos may not be found anywhere else making them truly endemic. It is a major attraction factor for animal enthusiasts, zoologists, and wildlife photographers.
The best spot to see the famous Galapagos Islands Animals, birds are:
- Galápagos National Park
- Galápagos Marine Reserve
- Several uninhabited islands and islets of Galapagos
The Land and Marine Iguana in Galapagos.
I will start by showing the images of both the land marine Iguana that are found in the Galapagos.
Iguana is a kind of lizard.
Oh, my God! They look fat indicating there is no dearth of food for them, both on the land and underwater.
Galapagos Islands Animals: giant tortoises of Galapagos.
Some several centuries ago, the population of tortoises that roamed the beaches of Galapagos was considerably high. It naturally attracted the attention of pirates and other seafarers who hunted them down and ate them.
Oh yes! Are they really giant in size?
The name of these giant tortoises is ‘galapago’ in Spanish language. The Galapagos Island got its name after the giant tortoise’s name.
Do you Know:
Galapagos Islands because of its natural beauty, unspoiled by humans, and the rich flora and fauna, are protected by the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites wing.
Oh my God! What a tail, long and sharp at the tip!
Bird watchers are too eager to see these small birds that are not seen anywhere else in the world.
It looks similar to the house sparrow but is certainly different because the beak of the Finch is slightly bigger and thicker.
The Darwin’s Finch is also called ‘Galapagos Finch’.
The Galapagos Penguins cannot be instantly differentiated from the Arctic penguins by the general public but a zoologist can.
The penguins of Galapagos are said to be friendly with humans and they don’t mind swimming just below the snorkelers so that they can see them in close quarters.
It is very strange that a cormorant is flightless as generally, they are long-distance flyers and hence are migratory.
However, in Galapagos, you can see a unique species of cormorants that cannot fly and is endemic to the Galapagos.
Galapagos Islands Animals and Birds: Flamingoes
Did you notice some parts of the Galapagos Flamingoes are almost bright red than rosy pink in color?
The beak and the neck, its knees are lovely dark pink. They are surely a treat to watch-right? They are elegant walkers.
Well, the difference between pelicans of other locations and the Galapagos is the color. The Galapagos pelicans are brown in color though I find it is no where near brown. Look at them for yourself below:
Here is the normal pelican that is sporting snow white body.
Galapagos Blue-footed Booby:
Boobies are sea-birds that prey on marine life. As such, they are is no dearth of marine creatures in the Pacific Ocean and naturally, they lead a happy life on the Galapagos Islands that are located on the Pacific, so far away from a land.
Other Boobies that are spotted in Galapagos Islands are:
- Nazca Booby
- Red-footed Booby
Oh, what a color combination-the read and white!
These crabs live in large numbers off the sea of the Galapagos. They make a tasty meal to the boobies and flamingoes of the Galapagos archipelago.
The Galapagos Dove is endemic to the Galapagos Islands. Its beak is slightly different from the normal doves we see daily in high raise buildings-eh.? The beak is slightly curved down like a sickle.
Galapagos Sea Horse
Though the sea horse is found on other oceans, they are considered generally vulnerable to human’s proximity.
Sea Lions, Galapagos Islands Animals
Ah, these amphibians are spotted on the islands of Galapagos in plenty. Sometimes, they are also found sleeping on a sea-facing park bench as if it is taking a sunbath.
Galapagos islands Sea Cucumbers
Oh man, don’t imagine the sea cucumbers are some kind of marine plant. No, sea cucumbers are marine creatures but I don’t know which underwater creature feeds on the sea cucumbers.
It is rather a huge bird and is not seen anywhere else in the world.
It is a lovely grey bird of the Galapagos Islands.
Galapagos Islands Animals Bottlenose Dolphins
Strangely, these Lava Gulls that are seen preying off the Galapagos Islands are not in white color. Lava Gulls are a rare breed.
You don’t spot them in many parts of the world. They seem to be shy of humans and live in remote islands where their prey is not also hunted by men.
Galapagos Oyster Catcher
They simply love oysters and the Wikipedia says oyster is the bird’s staple! In addition, the Oyster Catcher also gobbles shellfish, limpets, mussels, clams, sea urchins, starfish, and crabs.
Beautiful birds, big and attractive. These Waved Albatrosses are seen mostly in the region of Ecuador and Peru.
Looks slender and attractive! They must look elegant in flight. I heard they are great divers in the ocean. In addition, they are endemic to Galapagos and they prefer to roam above the Pacific Ocean during the night. It is rare that gulls are nocturnal-eh?
Galapagos Islands Animals: Fur Seals
It resembles the Sea Lion to me. In addition, I could hardly see any fur in Fur Seal. Am I missing something?
Nevertheless, the Galapagos fur seals are endemic to the islands of Galapagos. Its favorite meal is shellfish and it hunts during the night. During daytime, it lazes around on the shore.
Black-bellied Whistling Duck
I am sure you would like to hear its whistle. Click the video clip below to hear the call of Black-bellied Whistling Duck.
Though this attractive bird is not endemic to Galapagos, it is spotted in a few uninhabited islands of Galapagos archipelago.
Oh, it looks large that must about 5 kg!
Strange name for a bird that is bluish grey. Looks more like a wild cock.
There are several species of Plover that can be seen on the Galapagos Islands and this is just one them.
So, that’s all for the Galapagos Islands Animals birds, , marine life you can see.
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is the capital city of the Galapagos and it is located on the island of San Cristóbal. Quito, the capital of Ecuador operates flights regularly to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
Birding tour of Galapagos:
It is important to go to the Galapagos with a field guide. Therefore, join an organized birding tour of Galapagos. Search for”
- “Birding tour of Galapagos“
- “Bird watching tour of Galapagos”
- “Birding cruise of Galapagos”
- “Galapagos wildlife cruise”
- :Galapagos Islands Animals Watching”