Hood Mockingbirds at Gardner Bay on Española Island in Galápagos, EC

Locals often call sea lions the welcoming committee to the Galápagos because of their omnipresence along the shores. That distinction should go to the Galápagos mockingbird. While sea lions sleep and ignore you, this bird will race toward you, stare up with curiosity and beg for a handout. They may also peck at your toes to get your attention. There are four species and seven subspecies of mockingbirds in the Galápagos. These are hood mockingbirds. They are also called Española mockingbirds because they are endemic to this island with a population of about 2,500 birds.

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Bahía Gardner, Española Island, Ecuador

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