Wildlife in Galápagos can be described with a variety of terms denoting how unique or range-restricted it might be:
Endemic species are found only in Galápagos (island-endemic species are restricted to a single island).
Endemic sub-species are a sub-species unique to Galápagos. The terms sub-species and race might be used interchangeably.
Native species occur naturally (without human intervention) in Galápagos, but also found elsewhere (the terms Indigenous and Native are synonymous, with Native typically used for wildlife, and Indigenous used for plants).
Introduced species have been brought to an area by man, and now survive there on their own.
Resident species are non-migratory species - species that breed here; they might be endemic, native or introduced.
With ongoing science and DNA work new species or sub-species are frequently being defined or discovered. In few places is this more noticeable than with the recent addition of half a dozen Marine Iguana sub-species, or several "new" birds.
Migratory species move between one place and another at different times of year - usually for breeding or feeding.
Vagrant species (typically birds) are those that have strayed or been blown from their usual range.
With a little work most of these bird species (endemic, island-endemic, native & introduced) are quite possible on either our 11 and 15 day workshop cruises (a couple of "nearly impossible" exceptions are the Mangrove Finch and the Galápagos Rail, as well as the Vampire Finch which is only found on islands with no visitor sites).
There are 30ish resident land birds in Galápagos, including 25 endemic species, and an additional 4 who are endemic at the level of sub-species.
San Cristóbal Mockingbird
Galápagos Short-eared Owl
Galápagos Barn Owl
Galápagos Mangrove Warbler
Common Gallinule or Moorhen
Pyrocephalus rubbings nanus
Asio flammeus galapagoensis
Tyto alba punctatissima
Dendrioca petechia aureola
island-endemic: San Cristóbal
There are 7 endemic Sea Bird species in Galápagos, plus an additional 14 native species, and a wide range of vagrants or occasional visitors..
Galápagos Penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus)
Flightless Cormorant (Phalacrocorax harrisi)
Waved Albatross (Phoebastria irrorata)
Red-billed Tropicbird (Phaethon aethreus)
Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentals)
Galápagos Shearwater (Puffinus subalaris)
Blue-footed Booby (Sula nebouxi)
Nazca Booby (Sula granti)
Red-footed Booby (Sula sula)
Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens)
Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor)
Galápagos (formerly Wedge-rumped) Petrel (Pterodroma phaeopygia)
Dark-rumped (Hawaiian) Petrel (Pterodroma phaeopygia)
Madeiran (Band-rumped) Storm Petrel (Oceanodroma castro)
Elliot's (White-vented) Storm Petrel (Oceanites gracilis)
Lava Gull (Leucophaeus fuliginosus)
Swallow-tailed Gull (Creagrus furcatus)
Franklin's Gull (Larus pipixcan)
Brown Noddy (Anous stolidus)
Sooty Tern (Sterna fuscata)
Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus)
COASTAL BIRDS & MIGRANTS
There are over 1300 kilometers of coastline in the Galápagos archipelago, made up of beaches, rocky shores, mangrove lagoons, and saline ponds - that's a lot of habitat! Migrant coastal birds range between the northern hemisphere, some as far north as the Arctic, and the Galápagos or further south - they are typically in the Galápagos during the northern winter months.
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
Great (American) Egret (Casmerodius albus)
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
Lava Heron (Butorides ssundevalli)
Striated Heron (Butorides straits)
Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea)
Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)
White-cheeked Pintail Duck (Anas bahamensis)
Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors)
American Oystercatcher (Himantopus palliatus)
Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Semi-palmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus)
Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
Wandering Tattler (Heterosculus incanus)
Sanderling (Crocethia alba)
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)
Northern Phalarope (Lobbies labatus)
As one might expect from remote islands that have never been connected to the mainland, the mammal list for Galápagos is quite limited. The endemic Rice Rats are restricted to the islands of Fernandina, Santiago, and Santa Fe (on the latter visitors have a chance of catching a glimpse). Ongoing efforts to eradicate the Black and Brown rats are gradually gaining ground, with some islands finally rat free. The two endemic bat species are seldom seen and little known.
Far more common are the emblematic Galápagos Sea Lions and Galápagos Fur Seals.
Also be on the lookout for a variety of other aquatic mammals that "come and go" from the islands; occasional whale encounters are a wonderful bonus to a trip, but occur too seldom to count on seeing them.
Galapagos Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus, subspecies: wollebacki)
Galapagos Fur Seals (Arctocephalus galapagoensis)
Galápagos rice Rat (Oryzomys bauri)
Fernandina Rice Rat (Nesoryzomys narboroughii)
Darwin's Rice Rat (Nesoryzomys fernandinae)
Black or Ship Rat (Rattus rattus)
Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus)
Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus)
Galápagos Bat (Lasiurus brachyotis)
Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)
Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)
Bryde's Whale (Balaenoptera edeni)
Sei Whale (Balaenoptera borealis)
Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus)
Orca / Killer Whale (Orcinus orca)
Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalous)
Short-finned Pilot Whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus)
Bottle-nosed Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)
Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis)
Striped Dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba)
Risso's Dolphin (Grampus griseus)
Here again we find some of the best known wildlife to Galápagos.
GIANT TORTOISES (Geochelone elphantophus):
G. e. poeteri (Santa Cruz)
G. e. Darwini (Santiago)
G. e. ephippium (Pinzón)
G. e. chatamensis (San Cristóbal)
G. e. hoodensis (Española)
G. e. vandenburgi (Alcedo volcano)
G. e. vicina (Cerro Azul volcano)
G. e. guntheri (Sierra Negra volcano)
G. e. microphyes (Darwin volcano)
G. e. becki (Wolf volcano)
Galápagos Green Turtle (Chelonia mynas agassisi)
Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata bissa)
Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
Olive Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea)
Land Iguana (Conolophus subcristatus) - found on 6 islands
Santa Fé Iguana (Conolophus pallidus) - found only on Santa Fe Island
Pink Iguana (Conolophus marthae) - found only on northern Isabela
MARINE IGUANAS (Amblyrhynchus cristatus): 11 island-endemic subspecies
A. c. hayampi subspec. nov. (Marchena),
A. c. jeffreysi subsp. nov. (Wolf & Darwin),
A. c. mertensi (San Cristóbal)
A. c. godzilla subsp. nov. (San Cristóbal-Punta Pitt),
A. c. trillmichi subsp. nov. (Santa Fé)
A. c. wikelskii subsp. nov. (Santiago);
A. c. cristatus (Isabela & Fernandina),
A. c. nanus (Genovesa),
A. c. venustissimus (Española),
A. c. hassi (Santa Cruz),
A. c. sielmanni (Pinta);
Hybrid iguanas - land & marine hybrid iguanas are also possible.
island-endemic: Santa Fe
LAVA LIZARDS, GECKOS AND SNAKES, oh my...
There are seven species of endemic Lava Lizard in Galapagos (all from the genus Microlophus), plus 9 species of gecko (6 endemic, and 3 introduced), and 4 species of endemic snakes (all racers).