The Galapagos Islands: A Birdwatcher’s Paradise

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A flurry of shapes, a whirlwind of colours, and a flapping of wings that seem to follow you around wherever you go – the Galapagos truly is a birdwatcher’s paradise when it comes to being surrounded by magnificently winged creatures. Birding in the Galapagos is extra special thanks in large part to no longer having to require the use of those gargantuan telephoto lenses that tend to be a part of every birder’s experiential “toolkit.” Instead of continuously keeping your eyes peeled and squinting at the horizon and treelines in search of birds, the Galapagos places them quite literally at your very feet (or right over your head)! In the enchanted isles, one need only step right up beside the birds themselves to snap an intimate and professional-quality shot.

Not Your Ordinary Gathering of Birds

The birds here in the Galapagos distinguish themselves quite strongly from other birds throughout the world thanks in large part to their friendly nature. So forthcoming are they with their tiny, elegant bodies that visitors might even ask themselves whether or not they’re in a Disney animated film. Birds will flutter about right next to you, or hop right up to your feet and stare upwards at you’re towering presence with complete curiosity.

oystercatcher galapagos

An oystercatcher

Tourists and birders alike come to partake and witness this unbelievable contrast in behaviour (when we compare it to what we usually experience with birds). Photographers also come to snap away at the wide variety of endemic wildlife and activity going on here, catching moments that make this place a natural spectacle.

galapagos hawk

A Galapagos hawk

Roughly 50% of all birds that reside in the Galapagos are endemic to the archipelago, meaning you won’t get the chance to find them (natively) anywhere else in the world! This makes for a near once-in-a-lifetime experience that draws birders from around the world to definitely have Galapagos on their bucket list. The huge variety of birds in the Galapagos are divided into 3 different categories: land birds, coastal birds and seabirds.

A Variety of Shapes & Feathers

The main coastal birds found throughout the archipelago consist of Flamingos, oystercatchers and lava herons. Hike a little deeper inland and you’ll find some of the ubiquitous species of land birds, these include Darwin’s finches, Galapagos pigeons, Galapagos mockingbirds and swallows (along with the numerous species that fall below them). Honorable mentions amongst this group are the short-eared owl (the only owl in the world that hunts by day!) and the Galapagos hawk.

frigatebird galapagos

Frigatebird in the Galapagos

Lastly, seabirds will probably be the most visible of flying creatures, as these often fly to and from the islands and hover around above the trails, completely uninhibited in their behavior by the humans that visit. These include the whole assortment of boobies (red, blue and Nazca), swallow-tailed gulls, frigatebirds (great and magnificent), Galapagos penguins, storm petrels, flightless cormorant, waved albatrosses, lava gulls and brown noddies.

Some of these are part of our BIG15 group of iconic species. Be sure to catch sight of as many of the beautiful birds as you can aboard Yacht Isabela II Galapagos cruise, which offers numerous Galapagos tours that cover as many of the iconic species of birds as possible in this birdwatcher’s paradise!