Darwin's Finches

Galapagos finches are well known for their influence on Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection. From the original colonising finch, 13 species can now be found
throughout the archipelago, having successfully adapted to different
environments provided by the islands. Find out the fascinating discoveries of a
special family of finches, and the scientists who have spent their lifetime studying
these special birds.

The focus of the special study was the medium ground finch. As its name suggests, it feeds on the ground, on seeds, insects and the fruit of the opuntia cactus. Its ‘medium sized’ beak is perfectly adapted, allowing it to feed on a wide range of seeds.


Weighing only 20 grams, these small birds breed throughout the year, making their nests in cactus or small bushes. It is during the breeding season, when competition for food is high, that these birds show their true resilience.


Did you know that only 2 weeks after hatching, medium ground finches leave their nests?



Seeing this gradation and diversity of structure in one small, intimately related group of birds, one might really fancy that from an original paucity of birds in this archipelago, one species had been taken and modified for different ends.

Charles Darwin

© Galapagos Conservation Trust

© Simon Pierce