Best time to travel to Galapagos Islands

Flightless Cormorant in Galapagos Islands

Fernandina and Isabela are exclusive islands of the Galapagos where you can explore fascinating flightless cormorants

Best time: July–October

Flightless Cormorant
Flightless Cormorant

Galapagos Islands are a natural habitat for many unique fauna representatives, and flightless cormorant is no exception. This bird is very special as it is the only cormorant that has lost its ability to fly and can be found only on the Fernandina and Isabela Islands (this is why it is also called the Galapagos cormorant). The most interesting thing about them is the courtship process, which takes place in the water and features males and females swimming around each other with their necks bent into a snake-like position.

Nesting tends to take place during the coldest months (July-October), when marine food is at its most abundant and the risk of heat stress to the chicks is decreased.

Practical info

Where are the flightless cormorants found?

The flightless cormorants are found exclusively on the Fernandina and Isabela Islands in the Galapagos. Their unique isolation created a specific environment that allowed for the evolution of a distinct species. These birds can be spotted swimming along the shore and diving for fish. Show more

What distinguishes flightless cormorants from other birds?

Flightless cormorants have a unique diminishing feature that is their inability to fly, which evolved due to their isolated habitat and lack of predators. Although they can't fly, they've adapted to be masterful divers, gracefully paddling their wings to move through the water with ease. They also have a unique courtship behavior involving the beautiful entwining of necks with their mates. Show more

When is the prime time to observe the courtship ritual of flightless cormorants?

The striking courtship ritual of flightless cormorants is generally viewed during the mating season from September to February annually. During this season, male birds swim around female birds with their necks entwined, each trying to show off their capacity to be the best suitor. The phenomenon is unique and is a perfect sight for tourists visiting the Galapagos Islands. Show more

How does weather influence the nesting behavior of flightless cormorants from July to October?

The nesting behavior of flightless cormorants is affected by the weather in the Galapagos, particularly during the coldest months of the year, from July to October. At this time, abundant marine food exists, and there is adequate space needed to create perfect nests, making it the optimal time for nesting. The weather conditions during this period, a cool environment, help chicks combat the risk of heat stress because of their temperature susceptibility. Show more

Apart from Fernandina and Isabela, are there any other unique islands in the Galapagos?

Several other exceptional islands exist in the Galapagos besides Fernandina and Isabela. For instance, Genovesa Island has many bird species, while Bartolome Island has an extraordinary volcanic terrain. Espanola Island, on the other hand, owns the only waved albatross species in the world, while Santa Cruz Island is the most developed area, with numerous tourist attractions. Each island stands out with its unique features and attractions, making it worth visiting for a new experience. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin