Definition of Darwin's finches in US English:

Darwin's finches

plural noun

  • A group of songbirds related to the buntings and found on the Galapagos Islands, discovered by Charles Darwin 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.

    Family Emberizidae (subfamily Emberizinae): four to six genera, especially Geospiza (the ground finches) and Camarhynchus (the tree finches)

    • ‘Just as bills of Darwin's finches vary from island to island within the Galapagos, so, too, do bills of male and female purple-throats vary from island to island in the Lesser Antilles.’
    • ‘Jonathan Weiner's The Beak of the Finch gives you a bird's eye view of Peter and Rosemary Grant's 20-year study of Darwin's finches on Daphne Major, a tiny island you'll see as you depart from Baltra.’
    • ‘They belong to a group of some 13 species collectively known as Darwin's finches.’
    • ‘The Galapagos have some fantastic, unique bird species that are a keystone of evolutionary biology, such as Darwin's finches.’
    • ‘As to the problem of genetic isolation, one only needs to look at Darwin's finches on the Galapagos.’
    • ‘If he did, he might realize that speciation has been observed on multiple occasions, and that there are innumerable examples of how species blend into one another, as is the case with Darwin's finches, and with ring species.’
    • ‘The Galápagos Islands are home to Darwin's finches and many other rare animal species, 300 species of fish, and a population of 750,000 seabirds.’
    • ‘Peter and Rosemary Grant of Princeton have done some of the best work on natural selection in the wild, documenting its effect on Darwin's finches on the Galapagos island.’
    • ‘The usual ‘guesstimate’ of how long it took for Darwin's finches to radiate from their parent population ranges from one million to five million years.’
    • ‘Likewise, founder effect has been discounted as the primary mode of speciation among Darwin's finches (Geospiza spp.) since the discovery of extensive MHC variability in these species.’
    • ‘From the genetic standpoint, monophyly at the population level may be unlikely or difficult to measure, as in Darwin's finches, and paraphyly at the population level may characterize many populations ranked as species.’
    • ‘Just as for Darwin's finches, it can reasonably be inferred (and creationists could agree) that all the present-day species descended from an original species (possibly only one pair) invading the island.’
    • ‘It's much easier to make a case for the forces driving the evolution of Darwin's finches, which generally sit obediently on the island on which they were born and are subject to cycles of droughts and heavy rains.’
    • ‘Archipelagoes are well known as arenas for species radiations (e.g. Darwin's finches, Hawaiian honeycreepers).’
    • ‘Even without mixing, the changes in Darwin's finches are not unidirectional; they shorten and lengthen their beaks according to variations of climate and environment.’
    • ‘The 13 species of finches found on the Galapagos Islands, and the one species from Cocos Island, together collectively known as Darwin's finches, are one of the better-studied groups of birds.’
    • ‘Podos realized that among Darwin's finches, the varieties of this trade-off and the natural variability of beak shape could enable him to test whether a bird's song could indicate the bird's ability to eat hard seeds.’
    • ‘Then, in 1973, a married pair of evolutionary biologists, Peter and Rosemary Grant, now at Princeton University, began a study of Darwin's process in Darwin's islands, the Galapagos, watching Darwin's finches.’
    • ‘A few flitting black finches - Darwin's finches - and a single land iguana, a heavy yellow lizard as fat as a house cat but with its own reptilian half-smile, are the only signs of life.’
    • ‘Cladogenesis is represented by Darwin's finches, a single South American species having multiplied into several species after reaching the Galapagos Islands.’