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Small ground-finch

Geospiza fuliginosa

Photo by Douglas Bolt (Mango Verde)

Common name:
small ground-finch (en); tentilhão-da-terra-pequeno (pt); géospize fuligineux (fr); pinzón terrestre pequeno (es); kleingrundfink (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family  Thraupidae

These birds are endemic to the Galapagos islands, being found in the islands of the archipelago except Genovesa, Wolf and Darwin.

Small ground-finches are 11 cm long and weigh 14 g.

They are mostly found in arid lowland zones, dominated by cacti, deciduous scrubs and dwarf trees, but also occur in forests at higher altitudes, up to an altitude of 1.700 m.

These birds forage on the ground or in low vegetation, eating seeds, buds, flowers and leaves, and to a lesser extent also arthropods and the the fruits of Opuntia cacti. They are also known to glean parasites from the skin of iguanas and tortoises.

The small ground-finch breed opportunistically, with egg-laying being most profuse when rainfall is high and food abundant. They are typically monogamous and maintain small territories where they build a small dome-shaped nest on a scrub or cactus. There the female lays 3 eggs which are incubated for 12 days. The chicks are fed mostly insects and fledge 2 weeks after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
Although this species has a relatively small breeding range, it is described as common and widespread. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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