Mockingbird Wars


The four species of Mockingbirds found on the Galapagos Islands hold a place of distinction in the biology of evolution. During his brief visit to the Galapagos Islands in 1835, Charles Darwin realized that different islands were home to different species of Mockingbirds and that all the island species were also different from their mainland relative. This observation, together with similar findings on finches and giant tortoises, was critical in the development of Darwin’s theory of natural selection.

The Mockingbirds on the Galapagos Island of Española are known for their fierce defense of territory. On October 31, 2015, this photographer found himself in the midst of literally knock-down, drag-out battles between two small gangs of Hood Mockingbirds (Nesomimus macdonaldi).  See the gallery below for an account of the battle.