Darwins finches

All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About encyclopedia.com content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated

Darwin's finches (Galapagos finches) The 14 species of finch, unique to the Galapagos Islands, that Charles Darwin studied during his journey on HMS Beagle. Each is adapted to exploit a different food source. They are not found on the mainland because competition there for these food sources from other birds is fiercer. Darwin believed all the Galapagos finches to be descendants of a few that strayed from the mainland, and this provided important evidence for his theory of evolution. See also adaptive radiation.

views updated

Darwin's finches a group of songbirds related to the buntings and found on the Galapagos Islands, discovered by Charles Darwin (see Darwinism) and used by him to illustrate his theory of natural selection. They are believed to have evolved from a common ancestor and have developed a variety of bills to suit various modes of life.

views updated

Darwin's finches Fourteen species of Geospizinae that are endemic to the Galápagos Islands. There are only six species of all other passerine birds and one species of cuckoo on the islands. Thus it is inferred that an ancestor of the finches arrived on the islands before other birds and then underwent adaptive radiation. Each species has evolved a distinctive beak type, and feeds on food not eaten by the other species.