Galapagos wildlife

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Galapagos Islands sea birds


Reproduction

Galapagos Penguins mate for life and are opportunistic breeders. In good conditions a pair can produce three clutches in a year.

They normally molt before breeding, and are the only penguins to molt more than once a year.

Galapagos penguin and snorkeller

During the two week molting period they avoid the water, and fast. Courtship involves preening of the mate's head, wing slapping, and bill crossing.

Nesting occurs on Fernandina and Isabela islands throughout the year with the majority of nests being seen May-January. Some penguins may mate as often as every 6 months.

Galapagos penguin

Female penguins lay 1-2 eggs each season. The eggs are laid in burrows under the lava and the pair shares the responsibility of watching over the nest.

In years with warm waters from the El Niño Current, life changes in the Galapagos including heavy declines in the penguin population.

Both parents tend the eggs for 38-40 days. Chicks molt, get their adult feathers, and are on their own in about 60-65 days.

Penguins are somewhat myopic and often go to the wrong place on their way to their nest or mate, and this can get them into trouble with other penguins.

Galapagos sea birds, Red-billed Tropicbird and Brown Pelican
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