There are 4 species of mockingbirds in the Galapagos. They are medium-sized birds, reaching up to 28cm, with long legs, tails and downward-curving bills.
Their plumage is similar, with brownish, streaked upperparts and pale fronts. They have loud, tuneful songs. Different species live on different islands and their ranges do not overlap. It was these mockingbirds and the differences between them that inspired Charles Darwin on his 1835 visit, later helping him form his theory of evolution.
The Galapagos mockingbird occurs on many of the islands and has 6 subspecies. It is slightly darker in colour than the other mockingbirds. As well as eating insects, they feed on seabird eggs and young finches. They will also eat any food left out by people. They can fly but often prefer to run, rather like road-runners. They are social birds, living in groups.
San Cristobal Mockingbird
The San Cristobal mockingbird is found only on that island. This was one of the first birds Darwin came across when he arrived in the islands in 1835. They breed between October and April, building nests in trees and cacti.
The Floreana mockingbird is now found only on Champion and Gardner-by-Floreana islets, having become extinct on Floreana in the 1880s. It is one of the rarest birds in the world and is designated endangered. Efforts are being made to save this bird and there are plans to reintroduce it to Floreana island to increase its population and range.
The Espanola mockingbird is common on Espanola and Gardner-by-Espanola but is not found anywhere else. It is classified vulnerable due to its limited range, which makes it susceptible to extreme weather conditions. It’s the largest of the mockingbirds in the islands. It breeds in March and April and nests in trees and on cacti.
Mockingbirds can be seen on
San Cristobal – Chatham (or San Cristobal) Mockingbird
Islets of Floreana – Charles (or Foreana) Mockingbird
Santa Fe, Genovesa, Santa Cruz, Isabela, Seymour, Daphne – Galapagos Mockingbird
Espanola – Hood Mockingbird