The Galapagos Islands are a treasure in more ways than one. The many animals that can be found in the area include various species that you won’t see anywhere else in the world, including the cutest Galapagos birds. The unique location at the crossroads of marine currents, and its geographical isolation of the Galapagos Islands has given rise to an evolution process that has not been found among animals living in other areas of the world. Many of these adaptations can be seen through the islands’ bird population, with birds that range from small land birds to large seabirds, many having features that run the gamut from somewhat comical to stunning in beauty. All of these species are not only exciting to see, but they also offer perfect opportunities for photos.
The Galapagos Penguin
One of the real stars of a Galapagos Islands vacation is the Galapagos penguin. These flightless birds, like their close relatives, have fins that allow them to hunt fish easily in the water. These penguins are related to those of the Peruvian and Chilean Coast, Tierra del Fuego / Magallanes Region, and the Jack Ass Penguins of South Africa. Photographing these cutest Galapagos birds is a lot of fun because you might catch them sliding down into the water, hopping on rocks and leaping up out of the water in a similar way to dolphins. These birds have a lot of energy, which helps add to their cute appearance.
Flightless Cormorants in the Galapagos
The flightless cormorant has become flightless over the years because of a lack of natural predators. They have an impressive size and weight, compared to any of the other nearly 30 species worldwide. They also feature hooked beaks suitable for catching fish. In addition to fish, this bird also eats octopus and eel. Because they can swim underwater, you are likely to get great pictures of them entering and leaving the water. You can also get good pictures of them standing in their usual spots just above the tideline.
Galapagos Gulls and Albatrosses
People on Galapagos cruises and other trips frequently spot swallowtail gulls and waved albatrosses. The swallowtail gull is the world´s only nocturnal species as well as the one of the two resident gull species found on the islands. These cutest Galapagos birds have extraordinary vision for finding fish and squid offshore at nigh time. The waved albatross is a species that can be found living on the islands between April and December, with an impressive migratory path that extends as far as Japan, while most individuals will make impressive foraging trips to the open seas in front of Chile and Peru. Watching these birds in flight is a true treat thanks to their impressive gliding.
Galapagos Frigate birds and Tropicbirds
Galapagos Islands tours are an ideal way to be able to photograph the frigate birds and tropicbirds that are so common throughout the islands. The great frigate bird feeds at sea while the magnificent frigate bird feeds more inshore. Unlike the tropicbird, neither species goes directly into the water to feed. This species is an off-shore feeder that makes impressive dives to reach the fish in the sea and boasts long tail feathers. Being at the shore provides plenty of chances to watch these cutest Galapagos birds at feeding time, and if you are lucky, you may be able to catch the colourful mating rituals of the Great Frigate bird on camera.
Unique Galapagos Boobies
The Galapagos archipelago has three booby species: the blue-footed, the Nazca and the red-footed. These birds are very adept at diving in search of the fish that make up their diet. Each of the species has different reproductive habits and preferences for nesting. The nesting areas vary from the ground to high cliffs to trees, and all of these populations are quite abundant. These cutest Galapagos birds are not only fun to watch on the ground, but they are also interesting to gaze upon while in flight.
Galapagos Darwin Finches
These birds are only found in the Galapagos Ecuador islands and the Cocos Islands located further northeast. Named “Darwin Finches “ in the mid-20th century by a British scientist, David Lack. These birds possibly illustrate best Darwin´s ideas on evolution. IN the early 21st century, DNA proved that the Darwin Finches are in reality Tanagers (a completely different family of birds, unique to the new world) There are 13 distinct Darwin Finch species, and they are well distributed, so you are very likely to encounter these excitable little birds. They are one of the species that has very little fear of humans, so chances are that you will be able to get pictures of them easily.
A Few More Cutest Galapagos Birds
The Galapagos hawk is an endemic species that is also the sole hawk species found on the islands. These cutest Galapagos birds are fully active during the daytime, providing plenty of opportunities to see them hunting and soaring on the updrafts that are so common in the islands’ wind currents. All of the birds in a breeding area play a role in raising the young. Another species that always manages to delight visitors is the flamingo, and you are most likely to spot these birds in one of the many saltwater or brackish lagoons, particularly during a Galapagos cruise. Besides feeding at the water’s edge, you are likely to see them take flight, which is always impressive to watch as they go from one island to another.