Galapagos wildlife

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Galapagos Islands coastal birds


American Oystercatchers: These beautiful counter shaded waders catch a lot more than oysters. Their distinctive, bright reddish-orange beak is both a hammer and a knife. Using this stout, structurally-reinforced tool, the

Galapagos american oystercatchers
oystercatcher can stab a bivalve between the shells and quickly slice the strong adductor muscles to get at the meat inside, or hammer away at the shell of a sea urchin, crab, or mollusk.

It seems that the oystercatchers are more approachable now than, say 10 years ago. Actually, they approach you or seem to, as they patrol the beaches for food.

Galapagos greater flamingos

Greater Flamingos: There are about 500 greater flamingos inhabiting the many hypersalinic lagoons of the Galapagos. The salts are concentrated due to evaporation of the relatively shallow water, providing the ideal habitat for the flamingo's main food - a pink shrimp called "artemia." The flamingo digest the shrimp, but not the pink pigment, which it "picks up" as its own beautiful coloring.

In the Galapagos, the flamingos usually breed during the coastal hot season. They are social breeders and will not nest on their own.

The courtship is not well know, but before and during the breeding season flocks of birds will stand up their full height and parade ballet-like with fluffed-up feathers. The nest are built from mud into small sand castle-like structures on which a single large eggs is laid, Flamingos are nervous creatures and are likely to desert their nests if they are disturbed.

Galapagos Islands land birds, Vermilion flycatcher and Yellow warbler
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