Mangrove Finch
Camarhynchus heliobates
The Mangrove Finch (Camarhynchus heliobates) is clearly one of the rarest birds in the world. It is one of "Darwin's Finches" known only from the Galapagos Islands, but this species is confined to a small mangrove forest only on the island of Isabela. There are thought to be approximately 100 of these finches on earth and many conservation efforts are underway to keep the bird from going extinct. In July 2003, I was one of the leaders on a Victor Emanuel Nature Tours trip to the Galapagos. We had special permission to visit a mangrove forest on an isolated section of Isabela where we were fortunate enough to locate two of these very rare finches. The first bird we saw was a banded individual, possibly a female (see photo at right). This bird had probably been banded by researchers who are studying the species. We also located a presumed male nearby. Few photos of this species are available on the Internet and I hope these new ones will be of interest to bird students, researchers and others. When I first set up this web page in 2003, I posted a total of four images of this bird. Since that time I have had quite a few requests to licence these images for publication as well as several requests to see more images if I had them. From what I can determine, these images are among very few photographs of this species in the wild, so they are quite important to the study of and education about this bird. For these reasons, I am posting all the images I have of this bird on this page. All of the images were originally shot in a horizontal format, but I have cropped some of the photos of the male as vertical shots. I have posted several of these both as the original horizontal image as well as the vertical crop to show what I have available. All these images were shot with a Canon EOS 10D and EF 70-200 mm F/2.8 L IS lens and 2X extender, so I have RAW 6.3 megapixel files of all posted images. These images were not easy to get and I was shooting through a small hole in the vegetation in order to get the shots. Still, these are the best shots I could get under these circumstances. For more information on this critically endangered species, see the Arkive website account of this species which features some of my images.
The shot at right and the next one are the same image, cropped differently.
The shot at right and the next one are the same image, cropped differently.
At right is a shot of Black Turtle Beach, Isabela Island (Also called Albemarle Island), Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, 8 July 2003. The mangrove woodland visible on the right side of the image is where the previous shots were taken.