Galapagos wildlife

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Galapagos Islands sea birds


Waved Albatrosses: The largest bird in the island, weighing about 10 lb with a swing span approaching 8 ft, the waved albatross is named for the wavy grey lines on its white undercarriage. The albatross is also the only one of thirteen albatross species to occur entirely within the tropics; most of the others are confined to the southern oceans.

Galapagos albatross

Virtually entire world population of some 12,000 pairs nets on Española Island and the species is usually regarded as endemic to Española Island.

Blue-footed Boobies: Of all the birds in Galapagos, none is more famous than the blue-footed booby. The blue footed booby is the most commonly seen of the boobies as it nest near the coast in many places and also feeds close to shore.

Galapagos blue footed booby
In flight, these birds have a characteristic shape. The blue-foots have proportionally longer tails than the other two species, which act as a rudder and allow them to make bullet-like dives in less than 2 ft of water and thus feed closer to shore.

The male has a somewhat longer tail, although the difference is not readily apparent to most visitors. And you can't tell he from she by who's sitting on the "pseudo-nest," because they share the brooding chore. The nest-building behavior of the blue-footed booby can be described as vestigial; twigs and other nesting materials are dutifully gathered but are never used, as the eggs are laid and incubated on the bare ground.

During incubation, both parents take turns brooding, sitting out in the heat of the sun. At this time, a couple of interesting temperature-regulatory systems are put to work.

The first, called gular fluttering, is characteristic of many sea birds, and it is an easily-observed behavior of the boobies.

Galapagos Islands sea birds, Red-footed booby and Masked booby
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