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Daphne Major

Sunset over Daphne Major, Galapagos
© Nigel Puttick

Island overview

Daphne Major and its even smaller sister island Daphne Minor are both tuff cones, formed from volcanic ash. 

Although the island may appear rather lifeless at first glance, it is an important nesting site for bird species including Nazca boobies, red-billed tropicbirds and blue-footed boobiesIt is also the setting for Peter and Rosemary Grant’s 40-year study of Darwin’s finches, as documented in Jonathan Weiner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Beak of the Finch. This remarkable research project demonstrated the role of natural selection in real time, and Daphne Major remains a vitally important scientific site, with access tightly controlled by the Galapagos National Park.

Although there are no tourist visitor sites on the island, there is a dive site where species including Galapagos sea lions, sea turtles, eagle rays and numerous sharks can be spotted.

Peter and Rosemary Grant on Daphne Major
Peter and Rosemary Grant on Daphne Major © Peter Grant

Wildlife highlights

One of Darwin's finches in Galapagos

Darwin's finches

There are 17 species of Darwin's finches found in the Galapagos Islands, which are famous for their evolutionary history.
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Blue-footed boobies

Blue-footed booby

The blue-footed booby is a favourite for many visitors to Galapagos and their brightly coloured feet make them one of the easiest birds to identify.
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Nazca booby

Nazca booby

The largest of the three booby species in Galapagos, the Nazca booby was previously thought to be a subspecies of the masked booby, but is now considered a separate species.
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Galapagos short-eared owl

Galapagos short-eared owl

An avian predator found across the Islands, the Galapagos short-eared owl has developed unique behaviours to aid hunting.
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