Wildlife on the Galapagos Islands

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Galápagos Fur Seal

The Galapagos Fur seal, often difficult to differentiate between the Galapagos sea lion, is the smallest of the otariid family. This species spends much of its time in the western islands and waters, and are endemic to the Galapagos Islands. With a small population number and range, they are listed as endangered on the IUCN list....[read more]

Galápagos Rice Rat

The Galapagos islands host four rice rat species, a small rodent endemic to the Galapagos islands. Historically, the islands hosted 12 endemic rodent species. Unfortunately, introduction on invasive rodent species like the black and brown rat has led to fierce competition ultimately resulting in extinction. Thanks to...[read more]

Galápagos Sea Lion

The Galapagos sea lion is a social creature, often considered the welcoming party to the Galapagos island. They are commonly found sunbathing on the various beaches accross the islands. This species species of sea lion breeds exclusively on the Galapagos Islands, where males can be fiercly territorial. Bulls, large males of the...[read more]

Hoary Bat

The Hoary bat is a widespread larger insectivorous bat species with stunning red fur and with white frosty tips. A thick fur covers the tip of its tail to just beyond the wrists and along the undersides of its wings. During the day, they are inactive, hiding within trees, snags, and perched in trees, although they may be found...[read more]

Eastern Red Bat

The Red bat is a widespread bat species that feeds primarily on insects including moths, flies, true bugs, beetles and cicadas. They are a small bat species, with blunt ears, reddish-orange fur, and frosted white tips. This species is nocturnal, spending most of the day hanging from one foot, camouflaged against similarly coloured...[read more]

Galapagos Dolphins

Five species of Dolphin can be spotted in the islands, with three inhabiting the area. The most common is the bottlenose dolphin, which is 2 to 4 metres (6 to 13 feet) and a life span of up to 40 years. The other two inhabitants are the Long-Beaked Common Dolphins and Short-Beaked Common Dolphins, which commonly school in large groups...[read more]

Galapagos Whales

Up to 23 species of whale have been listed in the Galapagos Islands. The most frequently spotted whales include orcas (actually dolphins), blue whales, humpback whales and sperm whales. The primetime for watching dolphins is when the cold Humbolt current runs through the area, from July to November. Whales are the largest mammals...[read more]

Galapagos Tortoise

The Galapagos Tortoise is a colossal terrestrial reptile, the largest in the world and can weigh up to 919 lbs and can live well over 100 years. This species is believed to have come from the mainland, as they are buoyant and can live for months at a time without food or water. The Galapagos tortoise is a herbivore, feeding...[read more]

Green Sea Turtle

A sea turtle species that inhabit the waters around islands of the pacific. The green sea turtle is primarily a herbivore, although young green sea turtles will eat nearly everything including jellyfish. during the breeding season, green sea turtles crawl to the shore, use their flippers to make a nest, and produce up to 200 eggs. The...[read more]

Marine Iguana

The Galapagos Marine Iguana is the only marine Iguana species in the world with the ability to hunt and swim in the ocean. Within the Galapagos islands, six subspecies exist of varying sizes, although most are black for the majority of the year. Uniquely, during the breeding season (January to March) the Galapagos marine iguana will...[read more]

Galápagos Land Iguanas

The Galapagos islands provide sanctuary to multiple land iguana species, herbivorous reptiles that feed primarily on prickly pear leaves and fruit. Look out for these creatures, which typically have yellow with white skin, and black and brown blotches. Like the Galapagos tortoise, this species has a mutualistic relationship...[read more]

Lava Lizard

The Galapagos Lava lizard is a small reptilian species widespread across the Galapagos islands. There are multiple species within the lava lizard family across South America, with seven total within the Galapagos Islands. Interestingly, there is a different Galapagos lizard species on every island. The colors of the reptile...[read more]

American Flamingo

The American Flamingo is a wading bird, its name deriving from the spanish word flamengo, which translates to "flame-colored. Flamingo are social creatures, typically living in large colonies. Most of their day is spent day filter feeding for shrimp, blue-green algae, insect larvae, small insects, mollusks and crustaceans. The...[read more]

American Yellow Warbler

The American Yellow Warbler is a small songbird species which spends its winters in Central and South America. They are easily witnessed in the Islands, as they display a vibrant yellow color. These songsbirds primarily eat insects, feeding on insects by searching within shrubs, leaves, and tree branches. Uniquely, they also hunt...[read more]

Blue-Footed Booby

The Blue-footed Booby is a medium-size marine bird typically found on coastal regions and islands. The name likely comes from the Spanish word "Bobo" which translates to stupid clown like, deriving from the tame nature around humans and the way in which they waddle. The Blue footed booby is famous for its vividly colored blue feed and...[read more]

Brown Noddy

The Brown Noddy is a obsure colored tern typically found off the mainland throughout much of the world. During courtship rituals, the female and male bow and nod to each other, hence the name noddy. This species breeds in colonies on rocks, islets, and islands in warm seas. Except around their breeding areas, the Brown Noddy is rarely...[read more]

Brown Pelican

The Brown Pelican is a large marine species living strictly on coastal areas and islands. They are instanstly recognizable for their large size, and gigantic gular pouch. These birds are renowned for their acrobatic head-first dives to snatch unsuspecting fish in their expandable pouches.[read more]

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egrets are a mid sized bird typically found in pasturelands. The name of the cattle egret derives from the unique pratice of riding on the back of cows, waiting patiently for the cow to fightenen insects to move so the egret can abush the insect. These birds are typically found in the pastureland of the santa cruz highlands. With...[read more]

Darwin's Finches

Famous within Darwin's observations described in his book "On the Origin of Species," the Darwin's finches are 15 different species each with unique physical traits. These species are unique for the size and shape of beaks that differ from island to island, and the fact that the physical traits can rapidly change from generation to...[read more]

Flightless Cormorant

The flightless cormorant is an endemic species of the Galapagos, restricted to Fernandina and Isabela islands. It is notable for its funny appearance with humorously small wings on such a large body. It is the only cormorant species in the world that has lost its ability to fly, although its wings are useful for hunting for fish. The...[read more]

Galápagos Dove

A mostly terrestrial dove species endemic to the Galapagos Islands, notable for its striking blue eye ring. This species tends to show little to no fear of humans. This dove spends most if its time searching for seeds, although it also feeds on caterpillars and cacti blossoms. [read more]

Galápagos Flycatcher

The Galapagos Flycatcher is a drab colored insectavore, typically seen acrobatically chasing and diving for insects, even off the hats of tourists! This species is notable for its complete fearlessness of humans....[read more]

Galapagos Shearwater

A small galapagos bird species often spotted in large flocks of up to a thousand. The species breeds exclusively on the Galapagos Islands, although it can be spotted in Oaxaca, western Mexico, and Central America....[read more]

Galapagos Martin

The Galapagos Martin is a swallow endemic to the Galapagos Archipelago. The male is purplish blue, while the female is blue above with brown underparts. They are typically found in pairs hunting for insects....[read more]

Galápagos Hawk

The Galapago Hawk is an endemic bird of prey, the only dirunal hawk of the islands. As this species is uniquely capable of preying on larger animals in the Galapagos, it feeds on nearly anything, including rodents, birds, lizards, young goats, young tortoises and sea turtles, insects, and carrion. [read more]

Galápagos Penguin

The Galapagos Penguin in the only penguin species of the Islands, its survival dependent on the nutrient rich humbolt current flowing through the area. This species is listed as endangered, as it has a small population of less than 2,000 individuals. They nest on rocky outcrops and within cracks of lava flows, and feed close to the...[read more]

Great Blue Heron

A large heron species typically found wading in shallow water in fresh and marine coastal ecosystems. This species has incredible vision, allowing them to hunt day and night for fish. While flying, the Great Blue Heron folds the neck into an “S” shape and trails its long legs behind....[read more]

Great Egret

This large egret species is hard to miss, a spectacular white colored wading bird found standing immoble in aquatic habitats looking for the perfect opportunity to prey fish, frogs, small mammals, small reptiles and insects, The Great egret reaches maturity between two to three years of age. During the reproductive season, the...[read more]

Lava Gull

A unique gull species endemic to the Galapagos Islands. This species typically never travelers inland, nor too far out to sea, rather spending most of the time close to the shore. This species has 1,000 individuals or less, the lowest population of any gull species in the world, and a low number for any species. Despite this, it is...[read more]

Magnificent Frigatebird

Considered pirates of the sea, the Magnificent Frigatebird is known for its agressive behavior of persuing other species to steal prey. They fly in the air near nesting colonies, lying in wait for an unsuspecting seabird to return to feed its chick. With impressive aerial acrobatics, it chases the returning seabird, often grabbing...[read more]

Nazca Booby

One of four booby species on the Galapagos Islands, the Nazca booby is white with black flight feathers and a black face mask. Although this species does not have the famed blue or red feed of the other boobies, this species has a unique mating dance that is incredible to witness. This species has been observed to practice siblicide...[read more]


An impressively widespread raptor found on every contintent exluding antarctica. This species is a hunter of fish, unique in its ability to dive for fish. They are typically found near aquatic ecosystems, and the nest is easy to spot, a large stick nest often found on high platforms above the water.[read more]

Peregrine Falcon

Known as the fastest bird on the planet, the peregrine falcon can reach speeds of up to 320 km/h (200 mph) as it dives toward its prey. This species is very successful, found on on all continents except Antarctica. For thousands of years, this species has been trained for falconeering.[read more]

Red-Billed Tropicbird

A unique vivid white bird with a red bill, black wing edges, an eye stripe and two streaming tail feathers. This species is a plunge diver, acrobatically diving into the water from high heights to catch prey. Often the frigatebird of the Galapagos islands will grab the tail of this bird, and bully them until they give up their prey.[read more]

Red-Footed Booby

A slender and acrobatic seabird famous for the red feet and fascinating courtship ritual. Like other booby species, this bird primarily feeds on fish. Impressively, this booby may fly up to 90 miles in order to find prey.[read more]

Striated Lava Heron

A small heron species similiar in size to the North American Green Heron. This bird is typically encountered foraging alone in the dense vegetation along bodies of water. Prey includes fish, amphibians, insects and crustaceans.[read more]

Swallow-Tailed Gull

A distintive gull, easily differentiated between other gull species due to the pearly gray coloration and dark head, bright eyering, and white spot on the base of the bill. This species almost exclusively breeds in the Galapago islands,[read more]

Waved Albatross

The Wabed albatross is acritically endangered albatross, with the majority of the species breeding in the Galapagos Islands. This species in easily recognizable with its large wingspan and vivid yellow beak. This species typically feed at night, hunting for squid that are found near the surface. They also steal prey from booby...[read more]

Yellow-Crowned Night Heron

A secretive and solitary heron often found wading the shallow Galapagos waters in search of fish and crabs. This species is easily identifiable from its white cheek patch, black head, and white feathers protruding off the back of its head.[read more]

Galapagos Mockingbirds

There are four species of Galapagos mockingbirds. The most commoon is the galapagos mockingbird, a large grey and white songbird endemic to the Galapagos Islands. The species is widespread on the island, inhabiting all of the major islands except for Floreana. This bird shows almost no fear of humans, allowing for wonderful...[read more]

Galapagos Rail

A small land rail endemic to the Galapagos islands. The species in easily to identify with its white speckles on its back, red eyes, and long legs on a small body. This bird is an insectivore typically found in the interior highland regions of the islands.[read more]

Galapagos Sharks

The Galapagos Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are renowned for their unique ecosystem which includes a diverse array of marine life. Within this ecosystem, sharks play a crucial role. The convergence of cold nutrient-rich currents with warmer tropical waters around these islands creates an ideal environment for a variety...[read more]

Galapagos Petrel

  The Galápagos Petrel, a unique seabird endemic to the Galápagos Islands, is scientifically known as Pterodroma phaeopygia. This name is derived from Greek, meaning "wing runner" and "dusky rump," indicative of its physical characteristics and flight patterns. As one of the six...[read more]

American Oystercatcher

The American Oystercatcher, scientifically known as (Haematopus palliates), is a distinctive bird in the Galapagos Islands. It stands out with its vivid coloration and unique feeding habits. This bird is an integral part of the coastal ecosystem, contributing to the biodiversity and ecological balance. Its presence in the...[read more]

Galapagos Sting Rays

The Galapagos Islands are not only famous for their unique land wildlife but also for their diverse marine life, which prominently includes various species of stingrays. These creatures are part of the cartilaginous fish family, closely related to sharks. Their presence adds to the ecological diversity and attracts numerous...[read more]

Galapagos Short-eared Owl

The Galapagos short-eared owl is not just another bird species; it's a unique subspecies of the widespread short-eared owl, found only in the Galapagos Islands. This owl stands out due to its remarkable adaptations to the islands' environment, including its smaller size and darker plumage compared to its relatives found...[read more]

Whale Shark

The Whale Shark (_Rhincodon typus_), also known as 'Tiburón Ballena' in Spanish, holds the title of the largest fish in the ocean. Regularly visiting the Galapagos Marine Reserve, this species is currently classified as endangered. Noted for their imposing size, Whale Sharks are also distinguished by their...[read more]

Vampire Finch

The Vampire Finch, a subspecies of the sharp-beaked ground finch, is a remarkable bird exclusive to Darwin and Wolf Islands in the Galapagos. This section introduces the bird, emphasizing its uniqueness among Galapagos wildlife and setting the stage for further exploration of its characteristics. Delve into the vampire...[read more]


The Sunfish, a marine wonder of the Galapagos, is renowned for its unusual shape and immense size. These ocean dwellers are a part of the Mola genus and are often spotted around the Galapagos Islands, contributing significantly to the area's unique marine biodiversity. Sunfish, also known as Mola, have a distinct rounded body,...[read more]

Red-lipped Batfish

The red-lipped batfish, known scientifically as Ogcocephalus darwini, is a unique species indigenous to the Galapagos Islands and surrounding areas. This species is distinctive for its unusual morphology and vibrant red lips, offering a fascinating subject for marine biologists and enthusiasts alike. The red-lipped batfish...[read more]

Mobula Rays

The Galapagos waters, renowned for their rich biodiversity, serve as a haven for an intriguing variety of marine species, particularly the majestic Mobula Rays. Within this marine sanctuary, two distinctive species of Mobula Rays are predominantly observed: the Mobula Birostris, commonly referred to as the Giant Oceanic Manta...[read more]