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You are here: Home > Island Paradise > Galapagos Animals & Wildlife > Darwin Finches

Darwin Finches or Galapagos Finches


Galapagos or Darwin Finches

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Category: Darwin Finches
Number of Species: 13
Endemic Species: 13

CLASSIFICATION
Vampire Finch; Large Ground Finch; Medium Ground Finch; Small Ground Finch; Large Tree Finch; Medium Tree Finch; Small Tree Finch; Vegetarian Finch; Cactus Finch; Large Cactus Finch; Woodpecker Finch; Mangrove Finch; Warbler Finch

Darwin Finches, or Galapagos Finches, are small land birds with generally dull black, brown or olive, often streaky, plumage; short tails; and short, rounded wings. Their bills vary greatly in size and shape (a fact which was instrumental in inspiring Charles Darwin's thinking in relation to the theory of evolution - and hence the name given to this fascinating group of species). Darwin Finches are found in all the habitats of Galapagos. Identification can be notoriously difficult due to the variation within each species and the occurrence of hybrids. .

Large Ground Finch


Large Ground Finch
Scientific name:
Geospiza magnirostris

Identification: The largest of the ground finches with a massive bill, the depth at the base being equal to the length of the upper mandible. ADULT MALE: Wholly black with white-tipped undertail coverts. FEMALE / IMMATURE: Brown with streaked underparts.


Small Ground Finch

Small Ground Finch
Scientific name:
Geospiza fuliginosa

Identification: The smallest, most compact ground finch with a rather dainty, short, pointed bill, the culmen being slightly curved. ADULT MALE: Wholly black with white-tipped undertail-coverts. FEMALE / IMMATURE: Brown with streaked underparts.


Medium Ground Finch


Medium Ground Finch
Scientific name:
Geospiza fortis

Identification: Intermediate between Small and Large Ground finch in size. Whilst the size of the bill is very variable, it is never as dainty or as pointed as Small Ground and, unlike in Large Ground, the length of the upper mandible is always greater than the depth of the bill.. ADULT MALE: Wholly black with white-tipped undertail-coverts. FEMALE / IMMATURE: Brown with streaked underparts.


Vampire Finch

Vampire Finch or Sharp-beaked Ground Finch
Scientific name:
Geospiza difficilis

Identification: Very similar to Small Ground Finch but bill longer and more pointed, the culmen being less curved. ADULT MALE: Wholly black with rufous undertail-coverts. FEMALE / IMMATURE: Generally darker than the other species of ground finch.


Cactus Finch

Cactus Finch
Scientific name:
Geospiza scandens

Identification: Plumage characteristics similar to the ground finches but bill rather distinctive, being long and pointed and appearing slightly decurved. ADULT MALE: Wholly black with white-tipped undertail-coverts. FEMALE / IMMATURE: Brown and heavily streaked, particularly around the head and neck.


Large Cactus Finch

Large Cactus Finch
Scientific name:
Geospiza conirostris

Identification: Plumage characteristics similar to the ground finches and Cactus finch. ADULT MALE: Wholly black with white-tipped undertail-coverts. FEMALE / IMMATURE: Dull black or dark grey, often with faint white fringes to the feathers on the underparts.


Vegetarian Finch


Vegetarian Finch
Scientific name:
Camarhynchus crassirostris

Identification: Distinguished by large size and short, broad bill which is deep at the base. ADULT MALE: Head, neck, breast and back black when fully mature, the remainder of the plumage being olive-brown and streaked. Bill pale pinkish or yellowish. FEMALE / IMMATURE: Upperparts brown and streaked with unstreaked olive rump. Underparts pale.


Large Tree Finch

Large Tree Finch
Scientific name:
Camarhynchus psittacula

Identification: The largest of the tree finches with a large, rather parrot-like bill, the tips of the mandibles crossing. ADULT MALE: Head, neck, breast and mantle black when fully mature, the remainder of the upperparts being olive-grey with some dark streaking. Underparts pale, often with a yellow tinge. FEMALE / IMMATURE: Upperparts olive-grown with faint streaking. Underparts paler and virtually unstreaked.

 


LMedium Tree Finch



Medium Tree Finch
Scientific name:
Camarhynchus pauper

Identification: Similar in size to Large Tree Finch but bill is smaller and less parrot-like. The tips & mandibles do not cross. ADULT MALE: Head, neck, breast and mantle black when fully mature, the remainder of the upperparts being olive-grey with some dark streaking. Underparts pale, often with a yellow tinge. FEMALE / IMMATURE: Upperparts olive-grown with faint streaking. Underparts paler and virtually unstreaked.


Small Tree Finch


Small Tree Finch
Scientific name:
Camarhynchus parvulus

Identification: The smallest of the tree finches with a small, rather stubby bill. ADULT MALE: Plumage similar to the other tree finches but underparts generally pale yellow with restricted amount of streaking on upper breast. FEMALE / IMMATURE: Upperparts grey-grown with very faint streaking. Underparts paler and virtually unstreaked.


Woodpecker Finch


Woodpecker Finch
Scientific name:
Camarhynchus pallidus

Identification: Males and females are alike. Upperparts uniform and virtually unstreaked olive or brown underparts yellowish or whitish, usually unstreaked but sometimes with fine grey streaking on upper breast. Bill long and rather stout with a distinctly curved culmen, similar to that of a tanager.


Mangrove Finch


Mangrove Finch
Scientific name:
Camarhynchus heliobates

Identification: Males and females are alike. Similar to Woodpecker Finch but slightly smaller, with a less heavy bill and generally greyer plumage which does not show yellowish tinges. The upperparts are grey-brown with a slight olive hue to the rump, and the underparts are greyish-white with some grey spotting on breast.


Warbler Finch




Warbler Finch
Scientific name:
Certhidia olivacea

Identification: By far the smallest of the Darwin's Finches, with the smallest, narrowest bill which is very similar to that of a warbler. The plumage of the different subspecies vary; the color of the upperparts ranges from pale grey to olive-green, and the underparts from white to buff. Some subspecies show a distinct pale eye-ring. Whilst males and females generally have identical plumage, some adult males develop an orange throat patch. The lack of yellow in the plumage distinguishes the Warbler Finch from the Yellow Warbler.

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