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Mangrove finch

Mangrove finch
© Michael Dvorak

Common name:

Mangrove finch

Scientific name:

Camarhynchus heliobates

Spanish name:

Pinzón de manglar

Conservation status:

Critically Endangered


Average size:

14 centimetres

Maximum size:

15 centimetres

Average weight:

18 grams


The mangrove finch belongs to the group of birds commonly referred to as ‘Darwin’s finches’, and is endemic to the Galapagos Islands. It has highly specific habitat requirements, with breeding populations occurring only in two small areas of pristine mangrove forest on the north-west coast of Isabela. Its extinction across much of its former range makes the mangrove finch one of the most range-restricted birds in the world, with only around 100 individuals remaining. 

Adult mangrove finches have dull brown plumage, becoming more olive-toned towards the rump, and whitish, lightly streaked underparts. Males develop black feathers on the head and neck after several annual moults. The beak is long and pointed, and, like many of Darwin’s finches, has evolved for efficient food collection. Mangrove finches use their delicate beaks to lift the scales of tree bark, allowing them to retrieve insect prey from underneath, as well as to probe through the leaf litter.

Mangrove finches in Galapagos

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