The Galápagos Sea Lion (Zalophus wollebaeki) is a species of sea lion that exclusively breeds on the Galápagos Islands and – in smaller numbers – on Isla de la Plata (Ecuador). Being fairly social, and one of the most numerous species in the Galápagos archipelago, they are often spotted sun-bathing on sandy shores or rock groups or gliding gracefully through the surf.
Their loud bark, playful nature, and graceful agility in water make them the “welcoming party” of the islands.
The Galápagos Penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus) is a penguin endemic to the Galápagos Islands. It is the only penguin that lives north of the equator in the wild. It can survive due to the cool temperatures resulting from the Humboldt Current and cool waters from great depths brought up by the Cromwell Current. The Galápagos penguin is one of the banded penguins, the other species of which live mostly on the coasts of Africa and mainland South America.
The Blue-footed Booby (Sula nebouxii) is a marine bird in the family Sulidae, which includes ten species of long-winged seabirds. Blue-footed boobies belong to the genus Sula, which composes of six species of boobies. It is easily recognizable by its distinctive bright blue feet, which is a sexually selected trait. The natural breeding habitats of the blue-footed booby are the tropical and subtropical islands of the Pacific Ocean. Approximately one half of all breeding pairs nest on the Galápagos Islands.
The Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) is a seabird of the frigatebird family Fregatidae. With a length of 89–114 centimetres (35–45 in) it is the largest species of frigatebird. It occurs over tropical and subtropical waters off America, between northern Mexico and Ecuador on the Pacific coast and between Florida and southern Brazil along the Atlantic coast. There are also populations on the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific and the Cape Verde islands in the Atlantic.
The Marine Iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) is an iguana found only on the Galápagos Islands that has the ability, unique among modern lizards, to forage in the sea, making it a marine reptile. The iguana can dive over 9 m (30 ft) into the water. It has spread to all the islands in the archipelago, and is sometimes called the Galápagos marine iguana. It mainly lives on the rocky Galápagos shore to warm from the comparably cold water, but can also be spotted in marshes and mangrove beaches.
The Waved Albatross (Phoebastria irrorata), also known as Galapagos albatross, is the only member of the Diomedeidae family located in the tropics. When they forage, they follow a straight path to a single site off the coast of Peru, about 1,000 km (620 mi) to the east. During the non-breeding season, these birds reside primarily on the Ecuadorian and Peruvian coasts.
Lava Lizard : microlophus is a genus of Tropidurid lizards native to South America. There are around twenty recognized species and six of these are endemic to the Galápagos Islands where they are popularly known as lava lizards (they are sometimes placed in Tropidurus instead). The remaining, which often are called Pacific iguanas, are found in the Andes and along the Pacific coasts of Chile, Peru, and Ecuador.
The Galapagos Land Iguana (Conolophus subcristatus) is a species of lizard in the family Iguanidae. It is one of three species of the genus Conolophus. It is endemic to the Galápagos Islands, primarily the islands of Fernandina, Isabela, Santa Cruz, North Seymour, Baltra, and South Plaza.
The Flightless Cormorant (Phalacrocorax harrisi), also known as the Galapagos cormorant, is a cormorant native to the Galapagos Islands, and an example of the highly unusual fauna there. It is unique in that it is the only cormorant that has lost the ability to fly. Once it was placed in its own genus, Nannopterum or Compsohalieus, although current taxonomy places it in the genus with most of the other cormorants, Phalacrocorax.
The Galápagos Tortoise or Galápagos Giant Tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra) is the largest living species of tortoise. Modern Galápagos tortoises can weigh up to 417 kg (919 lb). Today, giant tortoises exist only on two remote archipelagos: the Galápagos 1000 km due west of Ecuador, and Aldabra in the Indian Ocean, 700 km east of Tanzania.
The Red-Footed Booby (Sula sula) is a large seabird of the booby family, Sulidae. As suggested by the name, adults always have red feet, but the colour of the plumage varies. They are powerful and agile fliers, but they are clumsy in takeoffs and landings. They are found widely in the tropics, and breed colonially in coastal regions, especially islands.
The Bottle Nosed Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) is the most common and well-known dolphin. Bottled Nosed Dolphins can be seen riding the bow wave in front of boats.
The Bottlenose dolphin in the Galapagos cooler pelagic waters tend to be larger than their cousins who inhabit warmer, shallower waters. Those in colder waters have a fattier composition more suited to deep-diving.
The Whale Shark is the biggest of the sharks and the biggest fish on our planet. Although the name might suggest otherwise, it is NOT a whale. This shark has a very big mouth which can be up to 4 feet (1.4 m) wide. Uncommon in the entire archipelago and rarely seen during a Galapagos cruise. The more common places for seing this large shark are the waters around Wolf Island and Darwin Island in the north, primarily during the cold season when the Humboldt Current is strongest.
Galapagos Storm Petrels : eight species of Storm Petrels have been recorded in Galapagos, including 3 resident species, 1 migrant and 4 vagrants. They have short to medium-length wings in proportion to their size and usually fly close to the sea with a characteristic gliding flight action interspersed with rapid wing beats. Storm-petrels have longish legs and webbed feet, and the species most likely to be seen in Galapagos are dark with white rumps. The sexes of all species recorded in Galapagos are alike, and immature plumages resemble adult plumage.
The Tiger Shark (Galeocerdo cuvier ) is a species of requiem shark and the only extant member of the genus Galeocerdo. Commonly known as the “Sea Tiger”, the tiger shark is a relatively large macropredator, capable of attaining a length over 5 m (16 ft 5 in). It is found in many tropical and temperate waters, and it is especially common around central Pacific islands. Its name derives from the dark stripes down its body which resemble a tiger’s pattern, which fade as the shark matures.
The Galápagos Lava Gull (Leucophaeus fuliginosus), also known as the dusky gull, is a medium-sized gull and a member of the “hooded gull” group. It is most closely related to the Laughing gull and Franklin’s gull. The lava gull is endemic to the Galapagos Islands and is the rarest gull in the world.
Galapagos Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) is a large wading bird in the heron family Ardeidae, common near the shores of open water and in wetlands over most of North America and Central America, as well as the Caribbean and the Galápagos Islands. It is a rare vagrant to Europe, with records from Spain, the Azores, England, and the Netherlands. An all-white population found only in the Caribbean and southern Florida was once treated as a separate species and known as the great white heron.
Galapagos Greater Flamingo: there is one flamingo species that is resident to the Galapagos Islands, the Greater Flamingo. Flamingos are large and unmistakable birds with extremely long legs and neck, and unique kinked bill. In adults the plumage is pink. The sexes are alike. Resident; sometimes treated as an endemic subspecies glyphorhynchus. Population estimated at between 400-500 birds. Breeds in small colonies from July to March, building mud nests in salt-water lagoons.
Gecko Galápagos are very small, nocturnally-active reptiles. They resemble lava lizards but have thicker tails and rather broad heads with large eyes. Their toes are diagnostic, having folds of skin which form pads enabling them to climb even smooth vertical surfaces with ease. Locally common in the shore and arid zones and around human habitation. Ten species occur in Galapagos, six of which are endemic (although one may be exrinct) and three of which have been introduced in recent times.
The Mirrorwing Flyingfish (Hirundichthys speculiger) is a flyingfish of the family, Exocoetidae and the genus Hirundichthys. It was first described by the French Zoologist, Achille Valenciennes in a 22 volume work titled Histoire naturelle des poissons (Natural History of Fishes), which was a collaboration with Georges Cuvier.
Galápagos Dove (Zenaida galapagoensis) is a species of bird in the family Columbidae. It is endemic to the Galápagos, off Ecuador. It is fairly common and is found in a wide range of open and semi-open habitats, especially in the arid lowlands of the archipelago.
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia, formerly Dendroica petechia) is a New World warbler species. Sensu lato, they make up the most widespread species in the diverse Setophaga genus, breeding in almost the whole of North America and down to northern South America.