The Galapagos wildlife is
the main attraction for many visitors and there is always something
interesting to see, no matter what time of year you visit the islands.
magnificent frigate birds show off their red pouches all year round and
there are always sea lions to be seen.
Some specific highlights
of the wildlife year are described below:
Land birds start to nest after the first rain.
Española's marine iguanas adopt bright
colouring to attract mates. Green
sea turtles start to lay eggs on Galapagos beaches. Giant
tortoise eggs are hatching.
Greater flamingos start
nesting on Floreana. Marine iguanas nest on Santa Cruz.
Galapagos doves are nesting. Penguins migrate away
Bartholeme to cooler waters off Isabela and Fernandina. Giant
tortoise eggs are still hatching.
iguanas nest on Fernandina and North Seymour. Waved
albatrosses start to arrive back on Española at the end of
March. Hatching season of giant Galapagos
eggs continues. Galapagos Penguins on Isabela island.
Frigatebirds inflate their red throat pouches for the mating
season on San Cristobal and Genovesa islands.
sea turtle eggs begin to
hatch. Mass arrival and courtship of waved albatrosses on
Land iguana eggs hatch on Isabela. End of the giant
hatching season. Mating dance of blue-footed boobies on North
Seymour. Mating season for frigatebirds on Genovesa and San
Cristobal, when the males attract a mate by showing off their red
dance of blue-footed boobies on North Seymour. Band
rumped storm petrels start first of two nesting periods.
Waved albatross are laying eggs on Española Island.
Giant tortoises on Santa Cruz come down to the
lowlands to look for nesting sites. Birds
migrating north use the Galapagos Islands to rest. Humpback
Whales pass the Galapagos Islands from June to September.
Whale sharks may be seen in the far northwestern
towards the end of the month. The endemic short-eared owl
starts mating on Genovesa Island.
and dolphins off the west coast of Isabela, whale sharks near
Darwin and Wolf islands.
American oystercatchers nest on Santiago.
cormorants court and nest on Fernandina. Sea bird colonies
breeding. Blue footed booby chicks are at
their cutest and
most photogenic in July. Greater flamingoes court potential
with a dance-like ritual. The first frigatebird chicks start
lions are giving birth to pups
and can be agressive if they feel threatened. The giant
of Santa Cruz head back to the highlands. Frigatebird chicks
hatching. Greater flamingo courtship dances continue.
Migrant shore birds
arriving. Courtship of Galapagos hawks on Santiago and
Española. Nazca boobies nest on Genovesa.
Possibility of whale shark sightings near Wolf and Darwin
islands. Humpback whales pass the Galapagos on migration
September Galapagos penguins
busy courting on Bartolome. Male sea lions are fighting to
defend their harems of females. Lots of sea birds at nest
sites. Chance of seeing whale sharks in the northwest of the
archipelago or humpback whales migrating past the islands.
fur seal mating season.
Blue footed booby chicks on Española and Isabela.
Lava herons start nesting. Whale sharks still
around Darwin and Wolf islands.
November Sea lion
pups are old enough to play with
tourists and their mothers are more relaxed about them. Brown
noddy breeding season. Band rumped storm petrels start
again. Chance of seeing whale sharks in the far northwest of
the Galapagos Islands. Green sea turtle mating season starts.
tortoise eggs start
to hatch, through until April. Waved albatross chicks fledge
and the waved albatrosses leave the Galapagos, not to return until
March. Green sea turtles are mating.
Keen birdwatchers or
seeking some particularly elusive specimen to add to their list should
look for a specialist Galapagos wildlife tour operator to find the best
itinerary and time of year to achieve their objective. Taking
a specialist cruise with
like-minded passengers will also help prevent the birdwatchers from
driving the geologists mad, or vice versa, and increase your enjoyment
of the Galapagos experience.
bear in mind that the animals and birds of the Galapagos Islands have
not read this page and
reserve the right to change their behaviour based on weather
availability of food, number of predators/prey or other factors beyond
control of this website or of your tour operator or cruise boat
captain. The above is an indication of what you might see and
what usually happens in an average year. Nothing is
guaranteed. Especially in El Niño years with
extreme weather patterns, wildlife populations can fluctuate
dramatically and behaviours change.
Now you have an idea of
when you want to see the Galapagos wildlife, start thinking about the best
cruise boat and itinerary for your needs and perhaps a Galapagos
hotel for a couple of days before or after your cruise. Don't forget to book your Galapagos flights as far ahead of time as you can.
Spanish Vocabulary about wildlife activity in the Galapagos Islands,
Las Islas Galápagos: The Galapagos Islands
fauna silvestre: wildlife
Wildlife Activity Calendar
Wildlife calendar and monthly birdwatching and diving notes for the
Website www.ecuadortravelsite.org, text and photos by Sarah Clifford.
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