The Galápagos Islands are home to a rich variety of sea and land birds, in addition to the famous finches (not pictured here) that led Charles Darwin to his Theory of Evolution. Some species are found no where else in the world.
Among birds that feed in the water are the blue-footed boobies, which became my personal favorites for several reasons. They are comical to watch on land and engage in an elaborate courtship ritual that has come to be called the "Galápagos dance." In the air, however, they are quite graceful and, when they spot some food, they shoot into the water like an arrow. Other sea birds pictured here include masked boobies, the waved albatross, the remarkably agile frigate birds (pirates of the skies), the unique swallow-tailed gull (one of the few birds to hunt at night), the Galápagos penguin (an endemic species able to thrive on the equator because of cold water currents that come to the Galápagos from Antarctica) and pelicans.
Other water birds shown are the great blue heron and a flamingo. Birds that feed on land include the yellow warbler, the Galápagos dove, the Galápagos hawk and the Hood mockingbird.
A special thanks to Russ Lesko, one of the guests aboard the Beluga during my visit, who took the underwater photos of the penguins, which are used here with his kind permission.