There are few places in the world as dazzling and impressive. The Galapagos Islands are home to the most amazing animals.
The Galapagos Islands are one of the most impressive biodiversity hotspots in the world. Located 1,000 km west of the Ecuadorian coast, in the Pacific Ocean. The islands are home to a large number of unique species found nowhere else.
The continuous seismic and volcanic activity reflects the processes that formed the islands. This in turn led to the development of unusual plant and animal life. Marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, giant tortoises, huge cactus, endemic trees and the famous Darwin’s finches are some of the endemic species of Galapagos.
The Galapagos Marine Reserve covers an area the size of half the land area of Ecuador, and is one of the largest in the world. Its strategic location allows the arrival of three ocean currents. As a result, the mixture of these cold and warm waters has given way to the establishment of a diversity of species, making the reserve an important marine life sanctuary.
We invite you to know some of the most amazing animals of Galapagos. Continue reading the post and discover all the natural wonder.
The bird life of the islands is abundant and varied. During your trip you will see many of them. Here is a list of some of the most amazing animals birds of Galapagos.
1. Blue-Footed Booby
Blue-footed boobies are the most common to find and a favorite of many travelers. These birds have a particular characteristic. During their mating season, the males dance an elegant courtship with many cries and a pose known as “punta de cielo”.
It is common to find boobies on most of the islands throughout the year. But the best time to find a large number of them is in March. The chicks hatch in June and need five to six months of development before they can fly.
Interesting facts: The bluer the legs of the males, the more attractive they are for mating.
2. Red-Footed Booby
The red-footed booby is the smallest and easily recognizable by its pale blue bill and bright red legs. Its color is characterized by a combination of white and brown. These birds usually nest in the trees and bushes of the most remote islands, as they prefer to feed far from the sea. For this reason, colonies can be found in Genovesa, Darwin, Wolf, Floreana and Punta Pitt in San Cristóbal.
The best time to see them is between January and September, when they nest.
Interesting facts: These guys are strong fliers and can fly nearly a hundred miles when foraging for food.
3. Galapagos Flightless Cormorant
The flightless cormorant is the only cormorant in the world that has lost the ability to fly. This is because its wings are too small to support it in the air. However, they are useful for stability when jumping over coastal rocks. Mating between flightless cormorants involves an elaborate courtship ritual in which two cormorants intertwine their necks and move in a circle.
Isabela and Fernandina islands are home to this species. They nest between May and October. Their appearance is characterized by their black and brown plumage, turquoise eyes, burnished voices and especially by their small wings.
Interesting facts: The flightless cormorant is one of the rarest bird species in the world, with fewer than 1,000 left in the Galapagos Islands. They are therefore the subject of an active conservation program.
4. Waved Albatross
It is the turn of one of the rarest birds in the world, the elegant albatross. You can only found in one place: Española Island in Galapagos. Albatrosses are one of the most beautiful birds of the islands, thanks to their mix of brown, yellow and white with a bright yellow beak. The best time to see them is from April onwards as in January they leave to raise their young.
Interesting facts: These broad-winged birds, which are also the largest bird species in the Galapagos, have only one mate throughout their lives.
5. Frigate Birds
The frigate bird has a particularity, in the mating season, it tends to inflate its bright red throat, simulating a pouch. In the Galapagos Islands there are two species: the great frigatebird and the magnificent frigatebird. It is common to see these birds on the islands of Floreana, Genovesa, North Seymour and San Cristobal. These birds are not marine, so they never touch the water.
Interesting facts: Frigatebirds are known as “pirate birds” because they usually steal food from other species.
6. Darwin’s Finch
There are 13 different species of finches on the different islands of the archipelago, some are very similar and others look like a different species. In general, Galapagos finches are small birds with pointed beaks. Charles Darwin, the great naturalist, used these particular birds to illustrate his theory of evolution. For instance, they are one of the most amazing animals of Galapagos.
Interesting facts: These birds have evolved over time to adapt to their environment and not compete with each other.
7. Galapagos Flamingo
Flamingos are not endemic to the Galapagos, but they are a favorite, due to their characteristic pink color. This color is due to their diet of crustaceans and algae. There are only certain places in Galapagos that meet the requirements of their very specific food. Floreana Island, Santa Cruz, Isabela and Santiago are the places where they are found.
Interesting facts: The greater flamingo lives in the brackish waters of some Galapagos lagoons.
8. Galapagos penguin
The Galapagos penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus) is a truly extraordinary bird. Designed for the frigid arctic conditions, it has somehow adapted to live on the islands. So, it is an endangered species and is very rare to see, as there are only about 1,500 penguins on the Galapagos Islands.They can be seen mainly in Fernandina and the west coast of Isabela Island.
Interesting facts: It is the only penguin found naturally north of the equator.
The Galapagos Islands are the perfect place for reptiles. Thanks to the perfect climatic conditions for iguanas, lizards and tortoises.
1. Giant Tortoises
Giant tortoises are, without a doubt, one of the most amazing animals in Galapagos. Likewise, one of the main motivations for tourists to visit the islands. The prehistoric-looking Galapagos tortoises can live more than 150 years and were a major influence on Darwin’s theory of evolution. You can learn much more about the history and characteristics of these tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station and see them at the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center on Isabela Island.
Interesting facts: In the 1970s, due to hunting, the species almost became extinct. Of 25,000 species, approximately 3,000 remained.
2. Marine Iguana
The Galapagos marine iguana is the only reptile that swims to the sea to eat red algae. They can dive to depths of almost 30 meters and stay down for almost an hour. After feeding, they come ashore where they are often seen basking on lava rocks.
This species of reptile is known for its hissing and spitting, and salt from seawater and algae accumulates in its glands, so it needs to be expelled.
Interesting facts: Found only on the Galapagos Islands, has the unique ability to live and forage in the sea.
3. Galapagos Land Iguana
The land iguana is characterized by its beautiful golden pigmentation, its longevity, as they can live up to 50 years, and its special relationship with finches. It is common to see finches on the backs of these iguanas. One of their favorite foods is cactus pads, which they eat, spines and all. The iguanas live on the islands of Baltra, Isabela, North Seymour, Santa Cruz, Santiago, South Plaza and Fernandina, and are present all year round.
Interesting facts:Female iguanas lay about 20 eggs at a time, and both she and her mate take care of the nest. They are very protective and aggressive.
4. Lava Lizard
In the Galapagos Islands, there are seven subspecies of lava lizards. The largest is the Española variety. These small lizards measure 30 centimeters or more. You can find them on rocks or in scrub vegetation. Galapagos lava lizards are small and fast lizards that feed mainly on insects.
Interesting facts: One of their characteristics is to do “push-ups” as a way of marking their territory.
Most of the mammal species in Galapagos were introduced. The mammals that arrived had to adapt to their new and harsh environment in order to survive.
1. Galapagos Sea Lion
Sea lions are originally from California, but when they arrived in Galapagos they adapted to the warmer environment of the islands and evolved into a different type of species. This species is one of the most amazing animals in Galapagos. You can see them resting on the rocks, swimming in the ocean or socializing on land with other sea lions. They prefer to live in groups. Despite the population of 20,000-50,000 sea lions, they are considered a protected species.
Interesting facts: Sea lions occasionally move 10-15 km offshore for several days to hunt their prey.
2. Whales and Dolphins
The waters of the islands are home to several species of whales and dolphins. The most common whale species in the islands is the Bryde’s whale, usually seen in the channel between Isabela and Fernandina islands. As for the dolphins, you can find; the bottlenose dolphin, the Risso’s dolphin and the striped dolphin.
Interesting facts: The Galapagos Islands were the center of whaling in the Pacific Ocean in the 19th century.
1. Sea Turtles
The green turtle lives in the subtropical waters surrounding the islands. If you go snorkeling it is very easy to see these cute turtles in their natural habitat. The best place to find them is in deep waters, such as Devil’s Crown, where the current is strong. Or in the case of Bartholomew’s in weedy areas. Females lay their eggs on any of the islands between December and March each year. When temperatures are warmer the young will be female.
Interesting facts: Only the females leave the sea to nest and lay eggs on several of the islands.
Galapagos sharks are usually dark gray on top, with a whitish belly, black tips on the tail and a crest between the dorsal fins. There are a few species of sharks. Hammerhead sharks and the spectacular whale shark, usually seen only in the remote Darwin and Wolf Islands. Also the endemic Galapagos shark, which is occasionally seen near Puerto Egas. And among the harmless sharks is the whitetip reef shark, a small to medium-sized shark that usually swims away from humans.
Interesting facts: Although they are found throughout the archipelago, most sharks congregate around Wolf and Darwin Islands.
The blue waters of the islands are home to four different types of stingrays: the golden skate, the needle ray, the spotted eagle ray and the manta ray. It is common to see them on the sandy and rocky bottoms. Stingrays are harmless animals unless they feel threatened. The golden stingray is characterized by its golden yellow color; this species usually travels in groups. Spotted eagle rays have dark backs with white spots and are much larger. Manta rays are the largest ray species. They feed on plankton near the surface.
Interesting facts: Rays get their name from a sting on their tail, which they use as a defense mechanism.
As you swim through the waters of the islands, you will see a large number of colorful fish. Some of the most colorful are: the yellowtail surgeonfish, with its two almost vertical stripes on the sides of the “face”. The angelfish, the only variety of this species found in the islands. It is a stunning blue with orange-red fins and tail. The sergeant major fish, stands out for its intense blue color. And the parrotfish with its bright colors, blue, green and orange.
The Galapagos Islands are definitely a natural world full of amazing animals. You can’t miss the opportunity to meet them. Join one of our tours and enjoy an unforgettable adventure.