Known to school children all over the world studying evolution, the small changes amongst the species of Galapagos Finches famously helped Darwin to begin to formulate his theory of natural selection. Often referred to as Darwin’s Finches, there are 17 species on the archipelago, and they range from 4 to 8 in (10cm to 20cm) in size.
The key factor that makes each species different is the shape and size of their beaks - each having developed to specialize in a different kind of food source, ranging from nuts and seeds to insects and cactus pulp.
Galapagos finches can be found throughout the islands and some of our visitors have remarked that for such an important species in the history of science, Darwin’s Finches are not particularly exotic or exciting to look at! Whilst it’s true that they are uniformly drab in color and don’t exhibit any remarkable behavior, these little birds are a true icon of the islands and of the uniqueness of the archipelago. This is what makes a Galapagos cruise such a wonderful adventure of a lifetime, and why here at Galapatours we always make sure that our naturalist guides are amongst the best working in the National Park so that even these “dull” little birds will come to life for you.
However, there are some concerns about the future of the species. The finches are currently under threat from an introduced parasitic fly, and they are the subject of research studies to help the Galapagos National Park authorities to preserve these unique birds.
Fast Facts about the Darwin's Finches
- There are 17 species accepted of these little perching birds
- Because of their isolation, they developed different beak shapes to deal with different food
- Darwin's insight that they all evolved from a single species has been proved with DNA testing
- Despite their unremarkable plumage, Darwin's Finches are known for being fearless and noisy!