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  • Photograph of Striated Caracara

    A Striated Caracara on Carcass Island by Dave Barnes.

    FALKLAND ISLANDS

    Best Wildlife in the Falkland Islands

    Mammals
    Commerson’s and Peale’s Dolphins, Southern Elephant Seal, South American Fur Seal and South American Sealion. Also a chance of Killer Whale, and Dusky and Hourglass Dolphins, and an outside chance of Southern Right Whale Dolphin and Spectacled Porpoise.

    Birds

    Endemics
    Falkland Steamerduck and Cobb’s (House) Wren.

    Other Specialities
    Ruddy-headed Goose, Gentoo, King, Macaroni, Magellanic and Rockhopper Penguins, Black-browed Albatross, Striated Caracara, Pale-faced Sheathbill, Rufous-chested Dotterel, Two-banded Plover, Dolphin Gull, Blackish Cinclodes and Black-throated Finch. Also a chance of Grey-headed Albatross, Blue Petrel, Antarctic Prion, Grey-backed Storm Petrel and Common Diving Petrel, and an outside chance of Royal, Shy and Wandering Albatrosses, Atlantic and Soft-plumaged Petrels, and Black-bellied Storm Petrel.

    Others
    Black-necked Swan, Kelp and Upland Geese, ducks including Flying Steamer Duck, Silvery and White-tufted Grebes, Southern Giant Petrel, Cape and White-chinned Petrels, Sooty Shearwater, Slender-billed Prion, Wilson’s Storm Petrel, Imperial and Rock Shags, Black-crowned Night Heron, Turkey Vulture, Variable (Red-backed) Hawk, Southern (Crested) Caracara, Blackish and Magellanic Oystercatchers, Magellanic (South American) Snipe, Brown-hooded and Kelp Gulls, South American Tern, Brown (Falkland) Skua, Short-eared Owl, Dark-faced Ground Tyrant, Sedge (Grass) Wren, Austral Thrush, Correndera Pipit, Long-tailed Meadowlark and Black-chinned Siskin. Also a chance of Southern Fulmar and Great Shearwater.

    Best Sites for Wildlife in the Falkland Islands

    Best Times for Wildlife in the Falkland Islands

    The best time to visit is October to March. The best time to see the huge ‘beachmaster’ male Southern Elephant Seals fighting on Seal Island is the second half of October. They have usually finished their battles by January when most tour companies visit the islands, leaving just juveniles on the beach.

    Recommended Books etc. for the Falkland Islands

    Birds and Mammals of the Falkland Islands by R and A Woods. WildGuides, 2006.

    Field Guide to the Birds of Chile including the Antarctic Peninsula, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia by A Jaramillo. Helm, 2003.

    A Complete Guide to Antarctic Wildlife by H Shirihai. Helm, 2007 (Second Edition).

    A Visitor’s Guide to the Falkland Islands by D Summers. WildGuides, 2005.


    Apps etc.

    Antarctica Wildlife Guide.

    Trip Reports for the Falkland Islands

    Many trip reports, some for the Falkland Islands, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to the Falkland Islands. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to the Falkland Islands' below.

    Local Guides and Tours in the Falkland Islands

    The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.

    Accommodation in the Falkland Islands

    Some Organized Tours to the Falkland Islands

    There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.

    While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and people with partners with different interests. Individuals and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more than the price of an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.

    The most expensive cruises to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands tend to be those on the largest and most lavish vessels where every cabin has private facilities, but it is the smaller vessels, with much smaller passenger numbers and mostly shared facilities, which enable greater and easier access to certain areas, and sometimes longer times ashore.

    Tour companies who run or organize cruises to the Falkland Islands include the following.