Galapagos wildlife

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Galapagos Islands sea birds


Red-billed Tropicbirds: The red-billed tropicbird is one of the most beautiful and graceful birds in the Galapagos. Hearing their piercing cries as they fly back and forth near the steep cliffs, your eyes are drawn upwards, riveted by the long, kite-like streaming tails.

Galapagos red-billed tropicbird

Occasionally, one will swoop down and disappear from view; when you look down over the ledge, you can sometimes spot the white tail-feathers blowing in the strong off-shore winds, protruding out of a crevice in the lava rocks. This is the nest, ideally located for protection and takeoffs, but a most difficult landing target in the swirling winds.

Brown Pelicans: The bird most often seen around anchorages is the brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis). Brown pelicans are magnificent in flight.

Galapagos brown pelican
Carrying their necks tucked back and alternating strong wing beats with glides, a group flying in almost complete unison has a special charm. They are often to be seen flying low over the water, almost skimming the surface with an undulating flight.

In the Galapagos, the brown pelican nests in small colonies in mangrove forests or on low shrubs such as the saltbush. An untidy platform of twigs is built by the pair and two or three eggs are laid. Both adults share incubation for about four weeks. In a few days, the hatchlings grow a white downy covering and will remain in the nest until fledging at around ten weeks.

Both parents feed the young, allowing them to take food directly from their gular pouches. The adults usually have a high success in fledging their young, but it seems that the art of fishing pelican-style is not an easy one to master.

Brown pelican is one of the largest Galapagos birds, it is the smallest member of its family.

Galapagos Islands sea birds, Storm Petrel and Lava Gull
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