Galapagos Wildlife Photo Gallery

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    Great Frigate Bird Looking for a Mate in the Galapagos Islands

    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.