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7.7 Española Island

Arid zone

Española Island.

Organized bird tours visit Española Island on the same day as a visit to San Cristóbal.  This is a great way to save time and resources.

Española is the oldest and most eroded Island in the archipelago with a land surface of 61 square kilometers and a maximum elevation of 206 m.


Punta Suarez

Despite the inhospitable look, Punta Suarez hosts a great variety of sea birds and a few land birds.  The trail takes you from a sheltered beach on the north side of the point, through low scrubby vegetation, past a pebble beach, through a mixed colony of Nazca and Blue-footed Boobies and up to the cliff where the main Waved Albatross (e) colony is located.  The trail is a loop that has a great amount of boulders that makes walking difficult, but not impossible.  It is a good idea to have the extra help of a walking stick.

The Hood Mockingbird (e) is very unobtrusive and easy to see.

The Albatross colony is deserted from January to March while the birds roam the Pacific Oceanoff Ecuador and Peru.  The scrubby area near the blow hole is probably the best place to look for the Large Cactus Finch (e) from Española.  This form of Large Cactus Finch might represent a different species to the one found on Genovesa (subspecies propingua).   There is minimal possibility of contact between the two, and their totally different voices and bill shapes suggest that they are separate species. I have no experience with the darwinii race from Darwin and Wolf islands, but further studies will throw more light on the evolutionary relationships between these three forms. 

(Click here to download Map of Punta Suarez. Española Island.)


Birds to look for

Punta Suarez

Arid   Zone (AZ), Sea shores (SS),

Common:  Waved Albatross (e) (AZ, SS), Swallow-tailed Gull (AZ, SS), Nazca Booby (AZ, SS),   Hood Mockingbird (e) (AZ, SS),   Small Ground Finch (e) (AZ, SS),   Large Cactus Finch (e) (subspecies   conirostris) (AZ, SS), Warbler   Finch (e) (subspecies cinerascens) (AZ, SS), Yellow Warbler   (AZ, SS).

Uncommon: Galápagos Hawk (e) (AZ, SS), Galápagos Dove (e)   (AZ, SS), American Oystercatcher (endemic   subspecies galapagensis) (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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