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Genovesa Cactus Finch - BirdForum Opus

Subspecies propinqua (female)
Photo by nkgray
Isla Genovesa (Galapagos), Ecuador, September 2013
Geospiza propinqua


13-15 cm, with a long and strong bill. This varies from orange-yellow to mostly brownish to all black in some males.
Male in terminal plumage is all black except for white feather edges on vent area. Female is variable but often mostly dark in the head with more obvious streaking on the back (mostly dark with paler streaking) and underside (mostly pale with darker streaking).


The main form is only found on Genovesa while the other subspecies is possibly found on Wolf and Darwin, all in Galapagos, Ecuador.


Two subspecies are currently recognized[1]:

  • G. p. propinqua - Genovesa island
  • G. p. darwinii - Darwin and Wolf islands
Female in typical plumage
Photo by HelenB
Isla Genovesa, Galapagos, Ecuador, October 2019

It is unclear if there is any current population of subspecies darwinii on either of those two islands. Gill et al. contains a note saying "Subspecies darwini is best regarded as a hybrid form with G. magnirostris as one of the parent species".[2]

Genovesa Cactus Finch and Espanola Ground Finch were previously considered one species, the Large Cactus Finch, but they are no longer considered each others closest relative.


Low-lying areas containing dry scrub and prickly pear cactus.


Food includes frequently flowers, fruit and pulp of prickly pear as well as insects and seeds.


Songs of this species mainly described as rolling with a buzzy quality.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill F, D Donsker & P Rasmussen (Eds). 2020. IOC World Bird List (v10.1). doi : 10.14344/IOC.ML.10.1. Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  3. Birdforum thread with discussions of taxonomy of Darwin's finches. The section following post #38 (at least) is relevant for this species
  4. Jaramillo, A., J. del Hoyo, D. A. Christie, N. Collar, and C.J. Sharpe (2020). Genovesa Cactus-Finch (Geospiza propinqua), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, B. K. Keeney, P. G. Rodewald, and T. S. Schulenberg, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.gencaf1.01

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