Vampire ground finch

Vampire ground finch

Vampire ground finch

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Kingdom
Phylum
Class
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Geospiza septentrionalis

The vampire ground finch (Geospiza septentrionalis ) is a small bird native to the Galápagos Islands. It was considered a very distinct subspecies of the sharp-beaked ground finch (Geospiza difficilis ) endemic to Wolf and Darwin Islands. The International Ornithologists' Union has split the species supported by strong genetic evidence that they are not closely related, and divergences in morphology and song. Other taxonomic authorities still consider it conspecific.

Appearance

The vampire finch is sexually dimorphic as typical for its genus, with the males being primarily black and the females grey with brown streaks. It has a lilting song on Wolf, a buzzing song on Darwin, and whistling calls on both islands; only on Wolf, a drawn-out, buzzing call is also uttered.

Distribution

Geography

Continents
Countries
Islands
Biogeographical realms
Vampire ground finch habitat map
Vampire ground finch habitat map
Vampire ground finch
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Habits and Lifestyle

This bird is most famous for its unusual diet. When alternative sources are scarce the vampire finch occasionally feedsby drinking the blood of other birds, chiefly the Nazca and blue-footed boobies, pecking at their skin with their sharp beaks until blood is drawn. Curiously, the boobies do not offer much resistance against this. It has been theorized that this behavior evolved from the pecking behavior that the finch used to clean parasites from the plumage of the booby. The finches also feed on eggs, stealing them just after they are laid and rolling them (by pushing with their legs and using their beak as a pivot) into rocks until they break. Finally guano and leftover fish from other predators additionally serve as diet options.

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More conventionally for birds, but still unusual among Geospiza, they also take nectar from Galápagos prickly pear (Opuntia echios var. gigantea ) flowers at least on Wolf Island. The reason for these peculiar feeding habits is the lack of fresh water on these birds' home islands. Nonetheless, the mainstay of their diet is made up from seeds and invertebrates as in their congeners.

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Seasonal behavior

Population

Conservation

The vampire finch is classified as vulnerable by the IUCN based on its very restricted distribution and the impact of invasive species in its habitat.

References

1. Vampire ground finch Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampire_ground_finch
2. Vampire ground finch on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/103815245/119461181

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