The Galapagos Penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus) is a penguin endemic
to the Galápagos Islands. It is the only penguin to live on the
equator. Its nearest relatives are the African Penguin, the
Magellanic Penguin and the Humboldt Penguin. The Galápagos Penguin
occurs primarliy on Fernandina Island and the west coast of
Isabela Island, but small populations are scattered on other
islands in the Galápagos archipelago.
Waved Albatross: The Waved Albatross,
Phoebastria irrorata, is the only member of the Diomedeidae family
located in the tropics. It breeds exclusively on Española Island
in the Galápagos archipelago. The nests are built on areas of lava
with boulders and sparse vegetation. The primary food sources of
the Waved Albatross are fish, squid, and crustaceans. But they
have also been observed to scavenge for other food sources,
including the regurgitated food of other birds.
Flamingo: One of the world's
most beautiful birds is the Greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber),
a resident species of the Galápagos, primarily seen on Floreana
and other southern islands. Paler in coloration than found
elsewhere, due to its diet, the Galapagos variety inhabits the
brackish lagoons of the tidal zones, often in colonies of two to
four hundred individuals. In flight or on the ground, these
stately, long-legged and long-necked birds are impressive indeed,
a popular sight for tourists and photographers. But flamingos are
skittish, and often take flight at sudden movements or noises.
Lava Gull: The Lava Gull (Larus
fuliginosus) is a large gull, probably related to the Laughing
Gull. One of the rarest gulls in the world, the entire population
lives on the Galapagos Islands and is estimated at 400 pairs.Adult
plumage, acquired in the third year of life, consists of a black
head, black wings, and with a dark gray body and a paler gray
belly. The bill and legs are black, and the inside of the mouth is
scarlet. They have white upper and lower eyebrows, with red lids.
Immature gulls are generally dark brown.
Galapagos Hawk: The Galapagos hawk
belongs to the same genus as many of the hawks found in the
Americas, Europe and Asia, but because it evolved in the isolated
Galapagos, it is far tamer than its relatives. Its plumage varies
in color from white and brown to a brilliant yellow and black. The
Galapagos hawk is the major native predator of most island
lizards, including the marine and land iguanas and other reptiles.
Darwin's Finches: Darwin's finches are
an excellent example of the way in which species' gene pools have
adapted in order for long term survival via their offspring. The
Darwin's Finches diagram below illustrates the way the finch has
adapted to take advantage of feeding in different ecological
niche's. Their beaks have evolved over time to be best suited to
their function. For example, the finches who eat grubs have a thin
extended beak to poke into holes in the ground and extract the
grubs. Finches who eat buds and fruit would be less successful at
doing this, while their claw like beaks can grind down their food
and thus give them a selective advantage in circumstances where
buds are the only real food source for finches.