On your cruise in Galapagos, you will have a chance to spot the only exclusively nocturnal gull in the world. The Swallow-Tailed Gull only hunts for food at night, and over time this change to the natural circadian rhythm evolved to be a vital trait of this unique species.
The Swallow-Tailed Gull breeds mainly on the Galapagos Islands. The adults can be recognised by their distinctive black head with a scarlet ring around their eye.
These beautiful birds feed far out at sea - up to 18 miles (30km) away from land. They feast mainly on squid and small fish that swim close to the surface of the water at night, particularly during the first stage of a new moon. It is their fantastic night vision which enables them to hunt for food so successfully in the darkness.
Galapagos Swallow-Tailed Gulls breed from the age of five and only lay a single egg each breeding season. The gull can be seen nesting all year round as they don’t have a particular breeding season and mate opportunistically.
To see this magnificent bird the best viewing sites are on Genovesa, Plaza Sur and Española Islands where you can see around 2000 - 3000 pairs of gulls. A truly incredible sight for all keen nature-lovers taking a Galapagos cruise adventure.
Fast Facts about the Swallow-Tailed Gull
- A very vocal bird with a strange clicking sound - thought to be used for echolocation
- After breeding, adults and juveniles migrate south to Peruvian waters
- The best place to spot these creatures in on Genovesa - "The Island of Birds"
- The world's only nocturnal gull, they have excellent night vision