Learn about the many endemic species of sea (shore) birds favorite to many Galapagos travelers.
Common and cute, Blue-footed Boobies are the favorite birds of many Galapagos travelers. They prefer to nest in any open spot, which often includes the middle of the trail: many Galapagos visitors have had to walk around Boobies who impudently set up their home right on the path!
During the booby mating season, male Blue-footed Boobies do a fancy courtship dance complete with lots of hooting, honking and pointing their beaks skyward. This takes place on different times on different islands, but around March is a good time to see it. Chicks hatch in June or so and need five to six months of development before they can fly.
Flamingos are not endemic to Galapagos, but these beautiful pink birds are still a favorite. Flamingos eat certain tiny crustaceans that live in brackish salty water. There are only a handful of places in Galapagos that meet the requirements for their very specific food, so there are never more than a few hundred flamingos in Galapagos at any time. They do nest and breed in the islands, so it is possible to see young ones at certain times of the year.
The Galapagos Penguin is truly a remarkable bird. Designed for frigid arctic conditions, it somehow adapted enough to be able to live at the Equator! In fact, it's the only penguin to naturally be found north of the Equator. Very fortunate snorkelers will get to see them swimming: they're amazingly quick as they dart around, nipping up small fish!
One of the rarest birds in the world, the elegant Waved Albatross only nests in one place: Española Island in Galapagos. They're handsome birds: their coloring is a blending of brown, yellow and white with a bright yellow bill. These large birds can fly for days out at sea, scouring the oceans for food such as squid and fish. Although they fly very gracefully, they're awkward on land, only managing a sort of weak waddle when walking. In December, they start to leave: it's the time of year when they feed, bulking up for the months that they'll spend rearing their young. By January they're mostly gone and visitors would be extremely lucky to see one at all until they start to return in April.