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You are here:7.1. Baltra Island and Daphne Minor Island.

7.1. Baltra Island and Daphne Minor Island.

Arid zone

Baltra and Daphne Minor Islands

The best place to start the optimal birding trip to the Galápagos Islands is the small island of Baltra, where the Galápagos National customs will require you to pay an entry fee of $ 100 US. 

If you have chartered a boat for the special itinerary, you will head to the El Muelle (the dock that has been taken over by the Galapagos Sea Lions) to get onboard your ship.  If you are trying to bird on your own, you will take to the bus across the Itabaca Channel on the way to Puerto Ayora.  Bus rides Baltra-Canal and Baltra Muelle are free.


(Click here to download Map of Baltra)


Baltra Island

Some of the common birds to see when reaching the shore off Baltra include: Brown Pelican (the endemic subspecies urinator), Elliot’s Storm-petrel (the endemic subspecies galapagoensis), Magnificent Frigatebird and Blue-footed Booby (the endemic subspecies exisa), Common Noddy (the endemic subspecies galapagensis). All the above mentioned species are fairly common in the shallow waters of almost all the islands and are a common sight for when visiting the Galápagos Islands.


Birds to look for

Baltra Island

Arid   Zone (AZ), Sea shores (SS).

Common:  Small Ground Finch (e) (AZ, SS), Brown Pelican (SS), Elliot’s Storm-petrel (SS),   Magnificent Frigatebird (endemic   subspecies magnificens) (AZ, SS),   Blue-footed Booby (AZ, SS), Common Noddy (SS).

Uncommon: Galápagos Dove (e) (AZ, SS), Galápagos Mockingbird (e) (AZ, SS).

Rare:   Dark-billed Cuckoo (AZ).


Daphne Minor

Daphne Minor is a cylinder-shaped island with sheer cliffs that can be observed from the Baltra airport.


Daphne Minor Island

A short boat ride to Daphne Minor will offer a chance to look for the rare and very localized Galápagos Martin.   The boat should go to the Northeast side of Daphne Minor.  Look for the martin when the birds make their sallies from the top of the high cliff to look for insects.  During the hot-warm rainy season the martins nest in the crevices at the top of the cliff.

Note: The best site to look for the Galápagos Martin in the islands is the upper rim of the Volcan Sierra Negra. At this volcano the Galápagos Martin is fairly common but the visit to this site will require changing your itinerary or adding an extra day.


(Click here to download Map of Daphne Minor)

Birds to look for

Daphne Minor Island

Arid Zone   (AZ), Sea shores (SS).

Common:   Red-billed Tropicbird (SS), Blue-footed Booby (the endemic subspecies exisa)   (AZ, SS), Common Noddy (endemic   species galapagensis) (AZ, SS).

Rare: Galápagos Martin (e) (AZ, SS).



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Meet the Author

Lelis Navarrete – Birding tour leader. Lelis has 19 years of experience as a birding guide and naturalist in the field. He has led groups of birders throughout most of Latin America, guiding frequently in countries like his native country of Ecuador and in the Galapagos Islands, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Panama. A Biology B.Sc. graduate from Universidad Católica in Quito, Lelis has supported Jocotoco Foundation since its founding in 1998 and was an active Board Member until 2010 supporting Ecuadorian bird and wildlife conservation. Lelis divides his time between his two great passions in life: birding and spending time with his wife Solange and son Fabian with whom he lives in Quito.


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