Galapagos Doves are an Evolutionary Wonder

June 21, 2011
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While Genovesa Island can overwhelm Galapagos Islands cruise guests with myriad opportunities to see spectacular wildlife, one underrated bird to look out for is the Galapagos dove.

At one point in time, the Galapagos dove was unafraid of humans, according to Arkive, a digital library of animals. It is said to have perched on the heads and shoulders of sailors before they began killing them for food along with Galapagos tortoises. Although they are now more weary of humans, the birds are described as very tame, according to Animal Corner.

The dove is mostly brown with a reddish upperparts and a buffy-colored belly, and is streaked with white and black. The female is duller in color than the male, but both have a bright blue circle around their black eyes.

Animal Corner says that the dove's diet comes mainly from the Opuntia cactus, which is native to the islands. Arkive adds that it feeds on caterpillars and flowers from the plant and forages for seeds on the ground. Animal Corner says that because of the lack of bees on Genovesa Island, a process of evolution has made the spines of the cactus plants there softer, allowing Galapagos doves access to the flowers for pollination.


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