Galapagos finch

Galapagos finch

▪ bird group
also called  Darwin's finch 
  distinctive group of birds whose radiation into several ecological niches in the competition-free isolation of the Galapagos Islands and on Cocos Island gave the English naturalist Charles Darwin evidence for his thesis that “species are not immutable.” The three genera (Geospiza, Camarhynchus [see photograph—>], and Certhidea), including 14 species, usually are placed in the songbird family Fringillidae (order Passeriformes) and in a distinct subfamily, Geospizinae, but some authors place them in the family Emberizidae. All are 10–20 cm (4–8 inches) long and of brownish or black coloration; they differ greatly, however, in the configuration of their bills, which are suited to their diverse feeding habits. Two species—the woodpecker finch (Camarhynchus pallidus) and the mangrove finch (C. heliobates)—use cactus spines to probe for grubs.

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Universalium. 2010.

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