Large Cactus Finch

Information about the Bird Large Cactus Finch

Its natural habitat is dry shrubland and it is commonly seen on the ground. Its main food source is the cactus Opuntia.The large cactus finch (Geospiza conirostris) is a species of bird in the tanager family Thraupidae. It is one of Darwin's finches, and is endemic to the Galpagos islands, Ecuador, where it is restricted to Espaola, Genovesa, Darwin, and Wolf Islands. This rather dark bird resembles the smaller and finer-beaked common cactus finch, but the two species do not co-inhabit any island. There are significant differences between the subspecies of the large cactus finch; G. c. conirostris of Espaola has a far larger beak than G. c. darwinii and G. c. propinqua of the remaining three islands.

The large cactus finch is one of Darwin's finches, a group of closely related birds which evolved on the Galpagos Islands. The group is related to the Tiaris grassquits, which are found in South America and the Caribbean. An ancestral relative of those grassquits arrived on the Galpagos Islands some 2-3 million years ago, and the large cactus finch is one of the species which evolved from that ancestor. There are three subspecies:
First described by Robert Ridgway in 1890, the large cactus finch is one of six species the genus Geospiza. The name Geospiza is a combination of the Greek words geo-, meaning "ground-" and spiza, meaning finch. The specific name conirostris comes from the Latin conus, meaning "cone" and rostris, meaning "-billed" (rostrum = bill). Although this species was originally described as a finch, DNA research has now shown that all of Darwin's "finches" are actually tanagers.
The large cactus finch is among the largest of the Darwin's finches, measuring 15cm (5.9in) in length. The male is black, with white-tipped undertail coverts. Female and immature birds range in color from dull gray to matte black, and frequently show white edges to the feathers of their underparts.
Endemic to the Galpagos, the large cactus finch is found only on the islands of Espaola, Darwin, Wolf and Genovesa. It is not found on any island where the common cactus finch occurs.

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