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Shore Birds - Galapagos

One of the best places in all of Galápagos to see birds is right along the shoreline. Many of the most interesting species in Galápagos are wading shore birds who feast on small fish, crabs, snails, small marine iguanas, and other creatures that live in the mangroves and tidal pools of the islands.

Since most of the visitor sites in Galápagos involve a transfer from the cruise boat to the island, usually by means of a zodiac or panga, visitors to the islands have a good chance of seeing one or more shore birds.

Herons and Egrets are commonly seen hunting in tidal pools and in mangroves. The Great Blue Heron may be known to visitors from North America: it’s the same species that can be seen in northern lakes and rivers. Egrets tend to prefer inland ponds and grasslands, but can often be seen along the ocean shoreline as well. Look carefully for Lava Herons and Striated Herons: their coloration makes them sometimes difficult to spot against the grayish rocks. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of the elusive Yellow-Crowned Night Heron or the Black-Crowned Night Heron.

Flamingoes are common visitors to the islands, where they flock to a limited number of salty, brackish lagoons that are the perfect home for the small shrimp that they like to eat.

The American Oystercatcher, with its distinctive red-rimmed eyes, long orange bill and black-and-white plumage pattern, is a common sight in tidal pools along some of the most popular beaches and visitors sites in the islands. Although they’re commonly spotted, it’s rare to get too close to one: they’re very shy.

The Ruddy Turnstone is a common sight along the coast. A smallish shore bird with white, balck and brown markings, it also has orange legs.

The Whimbrel is easily identified by its curved beak, which is slightly curved at the end for poking around in small nooks and cracks in tidal pools. Like the Oystercatcher, it is a very shy bird and it’s difficult to get a good look at one.

Other shore birds include sandpipers, phalaropes and more.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to The Galápagos Islands: Frigatebird, Flamingo, Nazca Booby, Sergeant-Major, The Flag Cabrilla, Where to Book a galapagos Trip, Spotted Eagle Ray, Planning your Galapagos Trip, Flightless Cormorant and Great Blue Heron.

By Christopher Minster
I am a writer and editor at V!VA Travel guides here in Quito, where I specialize in adding quality content to the site and also in spooky things like...
05 May 2010

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