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Galapagos Hawk

Galapagos Hawk

The top predator on the islands

What you need to know about the Galapagos Hawk

The Galápagos Hawk is the archipelago's only hawk species and the largest bird of prey. The sight of its broad wings riding the updrafts is a common one from the sundeck of your Galápagos cruise. By the end of your trip, you’ll be familiar with their easily recognized “kree-kree-kree” calls as they circle overhead looking for their next meal.

The Galápagos Hawk’s primary prey is the Galápagos Lava Lizard, and other small reptiles and birds and they can, therefore, be found distributed around most of the uninhabited islands. You won’t see them around the more populated areas as there simply isn’t enough food for them. Despite being the top land predator in the Galápagos, the Hawk is under threat. There are now only 130 known breeding territories left, with less than 500 individual birds, and the species is officially listed as “Vulnerable”. Sadly the biggest threat is from illegal human activity and the changes brought about by introduced non-native species.

At Galapatours we’re passionate about the Galápagos wildlife and its preservation, and all our naturalist guides on our cruises share this passion and concern. Thus, they will help you to understand the threats and challenges the vulnerable Galápagos Hawks face and what the National Park authorities are doing to preserve and protect them.

Galapagos Hawk: Interesting facts

The Galápagos Hawk is the largest resident bird on the archipelago

The Galápagos Hawks reuse the same nest each year

Galápagos Hawks eat a wide range of prey including birds, lizards, iguanas, insects, baby tortoises, and rats

During the breeding season, female Galápagos Hawks mate with up to 7 males who all help with incubation!

Galapagos Hawk: Pictures from our travelers

Galapagos Hawk
Galapagos Hawk
Galapagos Hawk

Spots where the Galapagos Hawk can be observed

A walk on Bartholomew
A walk on Bartholomew

Bartholomew (known as Bartolomé locally) is the most popular excursion for Galápagos visitors, and its iconic scenery is the most photographed in the whole archipelago.

To start your walk on this island you will land in the small bay opposite the famous Pinnacle Rock. You then start the climb to the 375ft peak of Bartholomew. You’ll travel along a half mile trail that includes a series of wooden steps that have been built by the National Park Service to protect the ground here from erosion caused by tourists hiking to the summit.

When you arrive at the top of island the spectacular views will have made your efforts worthwhile. Your Galapatours expert guide will point out all the landmarks you will see from here - Pinnacle Rock itself, jutting skywards. The huge black lava flows of Sullivan Bay. The islands of Daphne Major and Daphne Minor.

On the way back down, you will be able to recognise the different volcanic formations evident on the island, such as tuff cones and volcanic spatter. You'll also see some remarkable examples of the Galápagos' ability to highlight the adaptation of species. For example the  bushes that all look dead are actually very much alive, with leaves covered with special grey hairs that help to reflect the harsh sun and reduce moisture loss for the plants.

Back at the beach there is excellent snorkeling, thanks to the underwater caves and rocks in the area. You will see various sharks, rays and tropical fish. You may also see Galápagos Penguins swimming with you!

Chinese Hat
Chinese Hat

Chinese Hat ("Sombrero Chino" to locals) is an islet set just a short distance off the southeastern coast of Santiago. The small channel between Chinese Hat and mainland Santiago is fairly deep yet sheltered, and the water here is a glistening turquoise.

The islet gets its name because if you approach from the north, you will see that this small volcanic cone does indeed look like the traditional bamboo or rice hat. Viewed from above on a satellite image, however, you will see that this islet is actually more of an oval shape.

There is a short hiking trail on Chinese Hat that runs along the western coast of the islet. This is a harsh landscape of volcanic rubble and lava formations, a very atmospheric reminder of the fiery origins of the Galápagos.

Along the cost of both Chinese Hat and the opposite Santiago shore you are likely to see Galápagos Sea Lions and Galápagos Penguins, either basking in the sun or seeking shade to avoid the hottest parts of the day. Overhead, you might catch a glimpse of the magnificent Galápagos Hawk.

The stand-out reason for a visit to Chinese Hat however is to snorkel in that turquoise channel. Here you can see various species of sharks, rays, and a variety of tropical fish. Not all Galápagos boats can visit, and permits are only given to a select few boats and guides. Here at Galapatours we offer itineraries on all of these specially selected boats, so if a visit to Chinese Hat is important to you, speak to one of our Galápagos experts today to help choose the perfect itinerary.

Our trips to spot the Galapagos Hawk

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