Galapagos Flightless Cormorant

A true example of evolution is seen in the Galapagos Islands with the Flightless Cormorant. This Cormorant is the only one in the world that has lost its ability to fly. The Flightless Cormorant is endemic to the Galapagos Islands, found only on Fernandina and Isabela Islands. With their brilliant turquoise colored eyes, these birds have adapted well to their environment.


Over time, the Cormorants have become diving birds having less needs for flight for food. With webbed feet and similar to a duck, these birds dive for fish, eels and other small ocean creatures.


Even though they are diving birds, their feathers are not waterproof and they can be seen drying their little wings in the sun after a dip in the water.



Even though these birds have developed in an environment free of predators, the introduction of man on the islands along with dogs, cats and pigs have reduced their population over the centuries. Efforts to remove these predators from Isabela and Fernandina are on going. Current populations on the islands are around 2,000.

The Flightless Cormorant is considered to be one of the world’s rarest birds due to its low numbers and living exclusively in Galapagos. Truly a beautiful and unique sight to behold.


18 replies »

  1. Great photos! These birds are a prime example that we need to set aside special places on this world as some species can only live in one part of it.

    • What’s amazing at that location is that there were Sea lions, Marine Iguanas, Cormorants, Lava Lizards and sandpipers all in the same place living in harmony. I had missed the Galapagos Hawk – the only predator that eats small iguanas. Wish you could have seen in. It was an incredible sight and experience.

  2. You’re definitely helping us to learn about the importance of such special places on earth!

    I like the photos – especially the last one with the little lizard at the bottom of the photo – and how you’ve captured these interesting birds. They look so similar to the Cormorants we see around the Midwest and yet it’s crazy to see how being flightless has affected the overall structure of their wings. Honestly they’re pretty puny and scrawny – no offense guys – but how could we expect any more?

    I appreciate too how you’ve shown us them in varying activities. Oh and that water…gosh…it’s raining right now, very different form of what from your prestige image… πŸ˜‰

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