Genovesa Birds

The Galápagos Islands

Genovesa (general)/

Red-footed Booby adult

Red-footed Booby

Sula sula websteri

The main 'draw' of Genovesa Island is probably the Red-footed Booby, which breeds on the island, and can be difficult to see elsewhere, since they feed semi-nocturnally, way out to the north-east of the archipelago.

The great majority of Red-footed Boobies on Galápagos (c95%) are this light brown colour, but a small percentage is a white morph, which is similar to the Nazca Booby, but smaller, without the mask and with, of course, red feet! The proportion of white morph birds in other populations of Red-footed Boobies is almost exactly reversed.

The webs on the feet are more flexible than the other species, because they perch on, and nest in, trees.

They seem very sweet and harmless, but all is not as it seems

Nazca Booby

Sula granti

The Nazca Booby has only recently being given full specific status, having previously been considered to be a race of the Masked Booby.
Like the other boobies, it feeds by plunge-diving for fish, which it catches further out to sea than does the Blue-footed Booby. It has a murderous 'secret'.

Nazca Booby pair

Great Frigatebird portrait

Great Frigatebird

Fregata minor ridgewayi

Great Frigatebird is the more common breeding Frigatebird on Genovesa. Adults can be difficult to tell from Magnificent Frigatebirds unless you're close enough to see that their plumage has a green, rather than a purple, sheen.

More Great Frigatebirds

Galápagos Mockingbird

Nesomimus parvulus bauri

The Galápagos Mockingbird is the most widely distributed of the four species found on the islands; Genovesa has its own subspecies.

They are very confiding and curious, and are virtually omniverous, feeding on seeds, insects, baby turtles, sea-lion placentas or baby birds.

They nest after the start of the rains, and may have two clutches if the rains continue for long enough in which case, the first brood help to feed the second brood.

Galapagos Mockingbird - 25Kb

Adult Swallow-tailed Gull

Swallow-tailed Gull

Larus furcatus

The beautiful Swallow-tailed Gull is the world's only nocturnal gull, with eyes which are adapted for night feeding.
This pose, where it seems to be checking that its feet are still attached, is very typical of the species.

More Swallow-tailed Gulls

It feeds by trailing its feet in the water, stimulating the plankton to come to the surface, where, because of their bioluminescence, the gull can pick them off. Of course, as boats stir up the water much more than their feet can, there is often a flock of Swallow-tailed Gulls following boats at night.

Short-eared Owl

Asio flammeus galapagoensis

This dark race of the Short-eared Owl can be well-camouflaged among the rocks on Genovesa, which is the island where it's most likely to be seen.
On Genovesa, it feeds on the multitude of diurnal Storm-Petrels which nest there, picking them off as they hop the last few steps into their nesting burrows.

More Short-eared Owls
Short-eared Owl popping its head up from a crevice - 27Kb

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Text and images © Liz Leyden, 2008
Email: liz [at] v-liz [dot] com
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