The Falklands were visited by Charles Darwin in the 19th century, and he wrote of the wildlife with fascination and admiration. The islands’ geographic location, isolated and yet off the coast of a major continent, allowed for unique species and also provided a resting place for an astonishing array of birdlife. A vacation to the Falkland Islands will reveal some of these incredible species.
The islands are most famous for their significant penguin population. A Falklands cruise will provide the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the three temporary penguin species on the island: the magellenanic penguin, the comical rockhopper penguin, and the macaroni penguin. These three birds live on the islands during the breeding season from September to April. The king penguin and gentoo penguin remain on the islands year around, although the breeding season is an excellent time to visit the Falkland Islands.
Another bird of note that inhabits the island is the black browed albatross; the largest population in the world is located on Saunders Island. Travelers can view the 250,000 couples from easy plane access. Visitors may also come across different types of geese, herons, and seagulls roaming the islands.
Falkland Islands marine life includes the impressive elephant seal, sea lion, and fur seal. Fur seals were hunted excessively during colonization, yet are now reproducing successfully in the waters off of the islands. Dolphins and porpoises are frequently sighted in the coastal waters. The commersion dolphin is one of the smallest sea mammals, a rare species distinguished by its black and white coloring.
All native mammals in the Falklands have been wiped out. The last warrah (Falkland wolf) was killed in 1876. Introduced mammals that now live on the islands include sheep, cattle, and horses, as well as rats, mice, Patagonian foxes, rabbits, and cats.