12 Endemic Animal Species Of Ecuador

The endemic species of the Ecuador are a select group of animals that can be found only in the South American country, including several reptiles, birds and marine mammals.

Ecuador is one of the areas with the most animal and plant biodiversity in the world; 8% of the world’s animal species can be found in this country.

The archipelago of the Galapagos Islands is home to most of the endemic Ecuadorian fauna. The animals in this area are unique in the world and have lived for centuries with minimal human intervention.

Main endemic animals of Ecuador

The most abundant endemic species in the country corresponds to the group of birds; 18% of all bird species in the world live in Ecuador.

On the other hand, it is in the Galapagos Islands where most of Ecuador’s exclusive species live, probably due to its remoteness from the mainland. The archipelago is located about a thousand kilometers from the Ecuadorian coast.

1- Galapagos giant tortoise

It is one of the most emblematic species of Ecuador, recognized worldwide for its exceptional size and longevity (it is said that they live for more than 100 years).

Within the classification of giant tortoises of the Galapagos island there are some more variants (already extinct), where the Chelonoidis abingdonii stands out , famous for the Solitary George tortoise.

2- Marine iguana

Exclusive to the Galapagos Islands, it is the only currently known lizard that depends exclusively on the sea for its food and lifestyle.

They are characterized by their blackish color and can normally be observed sunbathing on the rocks near the coast to regulate their temperature.

3- Darwin’s finch

Up to 14 species are distributed throughout Ecuador. Its name refers to the scientist Charles Darwin, who studied the finch and developed his theory of natural selection by observing them.

4- Eastern Galapagos snake

Non-venomous constrictor snake that feeds on fish, rodents, eggs, and small reptiles.

Two variants can be found, which differ in their dimensions and their skin color. It is not dangerous for humans.

5- Esmeraldas Hummingbird

Variant of hummingbird that lives exclusively in the humid tropical and subtropical areas of Ecuador. It usually has very bright colors and is currently a species threatened by the disappearance of its habitat.

The life cycle of the hummingbird goes through several stages: migration and mating, nesting, hatching and feeding of chicks, and rearing.

6- Galapagos penguin

At less than 3 kilograms in weight, the Galapagos penguin is one of the smallest penguin species in the world.

Given their size, they have many predators, both at sea and on land. They are preyed upon by cats, snakes, sharks, and sea lions.

7- Blackish seagull

It is one of the few dark gulls in the world, its name comes from the color of its plumage. It is also called the moray gull or lava gull.

8- Albatross of the Galapagos

It is the only albatross that lives in the tropics, lives up to 80 years and is a fast bird (it reaches up to 90 kilometers per hour), with a wingspan of 3 meters long.

9- San Cristóbal lava lizard

There are seven variants of lava lizards from Ecuador, all inhabitants of the Galapagos archipelago.

It is a small reptile of no more than 30 centimeters in length that feeds on practically anything smaller than itself, including insects, eggs and seeds.

10- Galapagos sea lion

Marine mammal and carnivore that lives in the Galapago Islands, although it can occasionally be observed off the coast of some Colombian islands. It is brown or black in color and male specimens can weigh 250 kilograms.

11- Galapagos Mouse

Also known as the rice rat, it is found only in the Galapagos Islands, where it is endemic. Likes dry tropical climates, usually staying near bushes. It is in a vulnerable state according to the IUCN.

12- Vizcacha from Ecuador

This species is found only in Cerro El Ahuaca, in the province of Loja, in southern Ecuador, where it was observed for the first time in 2005. It is a medium-sized vizcacha, grayish fur and long tail. It also has a black stripe that crosses the center of its back.


  1. Ecuador (sf). Retrieved on December 20, 2017, from LN Treasures.
  2. Endemic Birds of Ecuador (nd). Retrieved on December 20, 2017, from Planet Wild Life.
  3. John Cagney Nash (nd). Plants & Animals of Ecuador. Retrieved on December 20, 2017, from USA Today.
  4. Species (nd). Retrieved on December 20, 2017, from Discovering Galapagos.
  5. Galapagos Islands (sf). Retrieved on December 20, 2017, from World Wild Life.
  6. Ecuador (sf). Retrieved on December 20, 2017, from Galapagos-Ecuador.

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