Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Vegetarian finch

Platyspiza crassirostris

Photo by J. Podos (U. Mass. Amherst)

Common name:
vegetarian finch (en); tentilhão-de-Darwin-vegetariano (pt); géospiza crassirostre (fr); pinzón vegetariano (es); dickschnabel-Darwinfink (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae

This species is endemic to the Galapagos islands, where it is currently found in the islands of San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz, Floreana, Isabela, Marchena, Santiago, Pinta and Fernandina. In the past it also occured on the islands if Pinzón and Santa Fé, but it is now extinct there.

These birds are 16 cm long and weigh 30-40 g.

The vegetarian finch is mostly found in tropical evergreen forests, both in dry and moist areas, being more common at middle altitude but occurring from sea level up to an altitude of 500 m.

They feed almost entirely on plant matter, including buds, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds, although a few insects may occasionally be taken.

Vegetarian finches breed during the local wet season. They are mostly monogamous and the nest is a dome-shaped structure with a side entrance, made of dry grass and placed on a cactus or scrub. The female lays 3 eggs, which she incubates alone for 12 days. The chicks fledge 2 weeks after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a relatively small breeding range, but is described as fairly common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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