Galapagos Wildlife Photo Gallery

Great frigate bird in the Galapagos Islands

Linda Garrison 

The Galapagos Islands are a dream destination for those who love to take wildlife photos. The birds, mammals, and reptiles are plentiful, and the setting is spectacular. During my week in the Galapagos on the M/V Evolution of Quasar Expeditions, I took about 1,500 digital pictures, with over half of those dedicated to wildlife.

This Galapagos photo gallery shows a little of the well-known diversity, but can't capture the sensation of being so close to these fearless creatures. For example, this great frigate bird can inflate the gular sac in his chest in about 20 minutes to make him more attractive to the females. I guess the human equivalent is showing off a six-pack of abs. We saw hundreds of these frigate birds during our week in the Galapagos and watched them and other wildlife for hours, amazed how readily they shared their special world with us.

More Photos and Information on Galapagos Islands Cruise

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Giant Tortoise

Galapagos Wildlife - Giant Tortoise
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

This giant tortoise appears to be running, doesn't he? He's on his way to eat lunch!

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Baby Giant Tortoises at Charles Darwin Research Station

Galapagos Wildlife - Baby Giant Tortoises at Charles Darwin Research Station
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
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Giant Tortoise with Long Neck

Galapagos Wildlife - Giant Tortoise with Long Neck
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

Giant tortoises have longer necks than expected! This one was on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos.

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Giant Tortoise Eating Lunch

Galapagos Wildlife - Giant Tortoise Eating Lunch
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

Tortoises are reptiles, and this giant tortoise's head has a snake-like appearance when chomping on this vegetation.

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Galapagos Snake

Galapagos Wildlife - Galapagos Snake
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

The Galapagos have three types of timid snakes. They feed by constricting their prey and can be slightly poisonous to humans. The pattern on this one is slightly different than the snake in the next photo.

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Galapagos Snake

Galapagos Wildlife - Galapagos Snake
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

 The Galapagos have three types of snakes. All are timid and feed by constricting their prey. They can be slightly poisonous to humans.

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Sea Lions on Buoy

Galapagos Wildlife - Sea Lions on Buoy
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

Sea lions everywhere love to hang out on red buoys. This photo reminds me of one I took in Alaska of some Steller sea lions on a buoy. 

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Raft of Sea Lions

Galapagos Wildlife - Raft of Sea Lions
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

 A group of sea lions is called a raft, and these are packed in so tight, they almost look like a raft!

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Baby Sea Lion Nursing

Galapagos Wildlife - Baby Sea Lion Nursing
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
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Sea Lions

Galapagos Wildlife - Sea Lions
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
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Sea Lions on the Beach at Santa Fe Island

Galapagos Wildlife - Sea Lions on the Beach at Santa Fe Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
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Sea Lions

Galapagos Wildlife - Sea Lions
Galapagos Wildlife (c) Linda Garrison
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Sea Lions

Galapagos Wildlife - Sea Lions
Galapagos Islands Wildlife (c) Linda Garrison
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Sea Lions on the Beach at Mosquera Island

Galapagos Wildlife - Sea Lions on the Beach at Mosquera Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
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Sea Lions

Galapagos Wildlife - Sea Lions
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

 Do you think these sea lions are demonstrating yoga moves?

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Majestic Sea Lion

Galapagos Wildlife - Majestic Sea Lion
Galapagos (c) Linda Garrison
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Sally Lightfoot Crab

Galapagos Wildlife - Sally Lightfoot Crab
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
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Sally Lightfoot Crabs

Galapagos Wildlife - Sally Lightfoot Crabs
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
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Red-footed Booby

Galapagos Wildlife - Red-footed Booby
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
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Red-footed Booby

Galapagos Wildlife - Red-footed Booby
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
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"Headless" Red-footed Boobies

Galapagos Wildlife - Headless Red-footed Boobies
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

These two boobies look like they have lost their heads, but it's just the way they are roosting in the tree.

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Galapagos Penguin

Galapagos Wildlife - Penguin
Galapagos (c) Linda Garrison

All penguins live in the southern hemisphere, and the Galapagos penguin has the most northerly habitat of all. The cold Humboldt current from Antarctica flows close to the Galapagos, allowing the penguins to live there. 

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Penguins

Galapagos Wildlife - Penguins
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

The backs of these penguins blend in with the black lava.

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Pelican

Galapagos Wildlife - Pelican
Galapagos (c) Linda Garrison
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Pelican Drying His Wings

Galapagos Wildlife - Pelican Drying His Wings
Galapagos (c) Linda Garrison
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American Oystercatchers

Galapagos Wildlife - American Oystercatchers
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
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Short-eared Owl Habitat

Galapagos Wildlife - Short-eared Owl Habitat
Galapagos (c) Linda Garrison

This gully and cave is the home of a territorial short-eared owl that lives on Genovesa (Tower) Island in the Galapagos. He could barely be seen in the dark cave without binoculars or a telephoto camera lens. Check out the next photo to see the owl.

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Short-eared Owl

Galapagos Wildlife - Short-eared Owl
Galapagos (c) Linda Garrison
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Nazca Boobies

Galapagos Wildlife - Nazca Boobies
Galapagos (c) Linda Garrison

I thought these boobies were fighting, but our naturalist said it's the mother booby trying to get her one-year-old baby booby to fend for itself. Mothers feed their chicks regurgitated food for about a year after they are hatched, and weaning them often takes "tough love" booby-style.

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Nazca Booby on Genovesa

Galapagos Wildlife - Nazca Booby on Genovesa
Galapagos (c) Linda Garrison

 Nazca boobies and Masked boobies are closely related but are separate species.  

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Marine Iguanas

Galapagos Wildlife - Marine Iguanas
Galapagos (c) Linda Garrison

Don't think I would choose to go swimming here. How about you? These marine iguanas are spooky.

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Marine Iguana

Galapagos Wildlife - Marine Iguana
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

This marine iguana is scary, isn't he? It is easy to see why they were used as monsters in horror movies.

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Mess of Marine Iguanas

Galapagos Wildlife - Marine Iguanas
Galapagos (c) Linda Garrison

 What do you call a group of iguanas? A mess. Isn't that appropriate, given this photo?

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Marine Iguana

Galapagos Wildlife - Marine Iguana
Galapagos (c) Linda Garrison
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Small Marine Iguana on the Beach

Galapagos Wildlife - Small Marine Iguana on the Beach
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

 This young marine iguana stands out on the white sandy beach, but I almost missed him when looking at the magnificent landscape view of the Galapagos Islands.

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Silhouette of Marine Iguana

Galapagos Wildlife - Silhouette of Marine Iguana
Galapagos (c) Linda Garrison

This marine iguana looks ferocious as it is silhouetted against the sky while perched on a lava ridge. 

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Magnificent Frigatebirds

Galapagos Wildlife - Magnificent Frigatebirds
Galapagos (c) Linda Garrison

The feathers on the back of the male magnificent frigatebirds are more blue than those of the green feathers on the male great frigatebirds. However, I don't think I'm alone in not being able to tell much difference.

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Female Magnificent Frigatebird with Blue-Ringed Eyes

Galapagos Wildlife - Female Magnificent Frigatebird with Blue-Ringed Eyes
Galapagos (c) Linda Garrison

This female magnificent frigatebird can be easily differentiated from the female great frigatebird. This magnificent one has blue-ringed eyes, and the great female frigatebird has <a red-ringed eyes. 

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Lava Lizard

Galapagos Wildlife - Lava Lizard
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
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Lava Heron

Galapagos Wildlife - Lava Heron
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

 This lava heron is patiently waiting for his lunch--an unlucky fish.

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Lava Heron

Galapagos Wildlife - Lava Heron
Galapagos Islands Wildlife (c) Linda Garrison
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Land Iguana

Galapagos Wildlife - Land Iguana
Galapagos Islands Wildlife (c) Linda Garrison
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Close-up of Land Iguana

Galapagos Wildlife - Close-up of Land Iguana
Galapagos Islands Wildlife (c) Linda Garrison
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Land Iguana

Galapagos Wildlife - Land Iguana
Galapagos Islands Wildlife (c) Linda Garrison
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Female Great Frigatebird with Red-ringed Eyes

Galapagos Wildlife - Female Great Frigatebird with Red-ringed Eyes
Galapagos Islands Wildlife (c) Linda Garrison

 Female great frigatebirds have red-ringed eyes and female magnificent frigatebirds have blue-ringed eyes. This is the easiest way to differentiate them.

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Male Great Frigatebird with Green Feathers on Back

Galapagos Wildlife - Male Great Frigatebird with Green Feathers on Back
Galapagos Wildlife (c) Linda Garrison

 The iridescent green feathers on the back of this male great frigatebird are one way to differentiate the great frigates from the magnificent frigates.

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Female Great Frigatebird - Draining Excess Salt

Galapagos Wildlife - Female Great Frigatebird
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

This female great frigatebird is not asleep or dead; she is excreting excess salt from glands over her eyes. Like other marine birds, frigates drink salt water and have to remove the salt from their systems in this manner.

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Male Great Frigatebirds

Galapagos Wildlife - Male Great Frigatebirds
Galapagos Wildlife (c) Linda Garrison

Oftentimes, a group of male great frigatebirds will perch in the same tree or in the brush, all showing off their distended pouches. 

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Male Great Frigatebird in Flight

Galapagos Wildlife - Male Great Frigatebird in Flight
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

The male great frigatebird is easy to spot if he is flying with his pouch distended. 

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Fur Seal

Galapagos Wildlife - Fur Seal
Galapagos Wildlife (c) Linda Garrison
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Fur Seal

Galapagos Wildlife - Fur Seal
Galapagos Wildlife (c) Linda Garrison

 Fur seals like to lie on the cliff ledges on Genovesa (Tower) Island in the Galapagos.

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Blue-Footed Boobies

Galapagos Wildlife - Blue-Footed Boobies
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

Two of these blue-footed boobies are male, the other is a female. We thoroughly enjoyed watching the two boys "court" the girl. It was quite a show!

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Blue-Footed Booby

Galapagos Wildlife - Blue-Footed Booby
Galapagos Wildlife (c) Linda Garrison

 This male blue-footed booby is whistling and flapping his wings to show off for a female.

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Blue-Footed Booby

Galapagos Wildlife - Blue-Footed Booby
Galapagos Wildlife (c) Linda Garrison

The feet of some blue-footed boobies are more intensely blue than others. The females seem to prefer the brighter-blue feet.

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Blue-Footed Booby

Galapagos Wildlife - Blue-Footed Booby
Galapagos Wildlife (c) Linda Garrison

I felt like this blue-footed booby was staring me down! Those eyes are certainly penetrating. 

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Swallow-Tailed Gull

Galapagos Wildlife - Swallow-Tailed Gull
Galapagos Islands Wildlife (c) Linda Garrison
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Yellow-Crowned Night Heron

Galapagos Wildlife - Yellow-Crowned Night Heron
Galapagos Islands Wildlife (c) Linda Garrison
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Great Blue Heron

Galapagos Wildlife - Great Blue Heron
Galapagos Wildlife (c) Linda Garrison

We have great blue herons at home in Georgia, but the scenery is not nearly as dramatic as the Galapagos Islands.

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