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Lava Gull - Birdwatching - Ecuador

A largish member of the Gull family, the Lava Gull (Larus fuliginosus) lives only in Galapagos. There are estimated to be only about 400 mated pairs of this extremely rare bird. Although the population is stable, it is considered threatened because of numerous dangers, including loss of habitat and introduced animals.

The Lava Gull is easily identified by its nearly-uniform gray color, black tail feathers and black-and-white eyes. It can quite easily blend into the lava formations where it makes its home (hence the name). It is a relative of the Laughing Gull native to North America (it also has a similar, distinctive laugh-like call).

As special and rare as the Lava Gull is, it's behavior is much like that of other gulls. It feeds on small fish, crustaceans, lizards, carrion and whatever it can find washed up on shore. They'll follow boats waiting for castoffs and scavenge in ports and towns.

The best places to see one are in the towns, where it's easier for them to scavenge. They can also often be seen on Genovesa/Tower Island and North Seymour Islands.


Here are other activities in and around The Galápagos Islands that may be of interest: Smooth-Billed Ani, Galapagos Rail, Galapagos Barn Owl, Pied-Billed Grebe, Common Moorhen in Galapagos, The Vermilion Flycatcher, Galapagos Pintail Duck, Whimbrels in Galapagos, Academy Bay Boat Tour and The Brown Noddy.

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