There are just 120 birds on the Galapagos list, but of these 23 are endemic and 4 are near-endemic.
Birds here are amazingly fearless. For sheer spectacle, walking by colonies of nesting sea birds on Espanola or Genovesa is hard to beat.
There are 29 land bird species, mostly on the larger islands, of which 22 are endemic. Most famous are the 13 species of Darwin's finch and the 4 Nesomimus mockingbirds, the others being Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos Dove, Galapagos Martin, Galapagos Rail and Galapagos Flycatcher.
A cruise is by far the best way to experience the islands, but if land birds are a particular interest then after your cruise you might stay for a few days at a hotel on Santa Cruz, such as Finch Bay Hotel. If you base yourself there fully you would miss the 4 single-island endemics: Medium Tree-Finch and Charles Mockingbird (both on Floreana), Chatham Island Mockingbird (San Cristobal) and Hood Mockingbird (Espanola) but could get all the rest.
Some key sea bird species have limited distribution, such as Red-footed Boobies (largest colony: Genovesa), Flightless Cormorant (Isabela and Fernandina), Galapagos Penguin (largest colonies: Isabela and Fernandina) and Waved Albatross (Espanola: present from April to December). Choosing the right boat for the birds you want to see can be quite confusing: we keep track of changing itineraries and can advise you on the best choices.