Latin Trails Travel Blog

Darwin finch, an icon of Galapagos

User: Latin Trails
Date: February 7, 2017

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Darwin’s finches are a beautiful kind of bird that can be found in Galapagos Islands, but, besides their beauty there is another reason why travelers come to know them. To Darwin, studying Galapagos finches was very important to develop his Theory of Evolution. Know more about Darwin finch, an icon of Galapagos!

They are an extraordinary example of how natural selection can lead to the evolution of different species from a single origin. For this reason, these birds owe their name to Darwin, as they were part of his investigation in his second voyage with the Beagle.

In Galapagos there are three different sub-species of this type of bird. Today there are more than 500,000 of them living in the Archipelago. This endemic specie is carnivore, and they often live around 20 years. Unfortunately, according to scientists, they could become extinct in several decades.

There are five kinds of Darwin’s finches today, and inside every kind, there are also different sub-especies. Only one of them cannot be found in Galapagos, Pinaroloxias.

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So, for example, the Genus Geospiza has six different sub-species of Darwin’s finches.The name Geospiza is a combination of the Greek words geo-, meaning "ground-" and -spiza, meaning “finch”.

Large cactus finch, for example, is a kind of Genus Geospiza that can be found in Española Island, Genovesa, Darwin and Wolf Island. It is one of the largest, measuring 15 cm in length. Other sub-species of the Genus Geospiza type are: Sharp-beaked ground finch, medium ground finch, small ground finch, large ground finch and common cactus finch. They are very similar to the rest, but with some few differences that are the reason why Darwin was so fascinated with these birds of the Enchanted Islands.

In Journal of Researches, Charles Darwin wrote:

"Seeing this gradation and diversity of structure in one small, intimately related group of birds, one might really fancy that from an original paucity of birds in this archipelago, one species had been taken and modified for different ends."

The other main types of Darwin Finches are Genus Camarhynchus, Genus Certhidea, Genus Pinaroloxias (this is the only one that cannot be found in Galapagos Islands) and Genus Platyspiza. All of them have some little differences that can be appreciated by bird-watchers nowadays.



If you want to see amazing pictures of Darwin’s finches, visit this website Arkive, and enjoy!

Anyway, there is nothing like experience itself! Come to Galapagos Islands and know these endemic species that have influenced so much in the progress of Science!

Contact our local DMC here!


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