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  • Photograph of Andean Condor

    The magnificent Andean Condor by Dubi Shapiro.

    NORTHERN ARGENTINA

    Best Wildlife in Northern Argentina

    Mammals
    Vicuna, Mountain Vizcacha, Collared Peccary, Red Brocket Deer and Tawny Tuco-tuco. Also a chance of Brazilian Tapir, Geoffroy's Cat, Brown Capuchin Monkey, Guanaco, Crab-eating Fox and Crab-eating Raccoon.

    Birds

    Specialities
    Of Argentina’s 15 or so endemics eight occur in this region; Bare-eyed (Moreno’s) Ground Dove, Steinbach’s Canastero, White-throated Cachalote, Sandy Gallito, White-browed Tapaculo, Rufous-throated Dipper, Yellow-striped Brush Finch and Tucuman Mountain Finch. Other specialities include Elegant Crested Tinamou, Red-faced Guan, Andean, Chilean and James’s (Puna) Flamingos, Black-legged and Red-legged Seriemas, Grey-breasted Seedsnipe, White-faced (Yungas) Dove, Alder (Tucuman) and Burrowing Parrots, Blue-capped Puffleg, Red-tailed Comet, Cream-backed and White-fronted Woodpeckers, Buff-breasted and Rock Earthcreepers, Iquico (Maquis) and Scribble-tailed Canasteros, Giant Antshrike, Olive-crowned Crescentchest, White-tipped Plantcutter, Brown-backed Mockingbird, Rufous-bellied Saltator, Red-backed Sierra Finch and Citron-headed Yellow Finch. Also a chance of Giant and Horned Coots, Puna Plover, Andean Avocet, Wedge-tailed Hillstar, Toco Toucan, Great Rufous and Scimitar-billed Woodcreepers, White-throated Antpitta and Short-tailed Finch.

    Others
    Lesser (Puna) Rhea and Andean Condor, as well as Ornate and Tataupa Tinamous, Andean Goose, Torrent Duck and other ducks including Puna Teal, Chaco Chachalaca, Dusky-legged Guan, Great Grebe, Buff-necked Ibis, American Swallow-tailed Kite, Variable Hawk, Mountain Caracara, Aplomado Falcon, Plumbeous Rail, coots, shorebirds including Wattled Jacana and Wilson’s Phalarope, Andean Gull, ground doves, Yellow-collared Macaw, parakeets, Squirrel Cuckoo, Burrowing Owl, Andean Swift, Giant Hummingbird, Andean Hillstar, Slender-tailed Woodstar, Blue-crowned Trogon, Chaco (Spot-backed) Puffbird, woodpeckers, miners, Crested Gallito, Buff-browed Foliage-gleaner, spinetails including Ochre-cheeked, Variable Antshrike, Black-capped Antwren, many tyrant flycatchers including Plumbeous and Spectacled Tyrants, White Monjita, Greater Wagtail Tyrant, Ochre-faced Tody Flycatcher, Black-billed and Grey-bellied Shrike Tyrants, and Rufous-naped Ground Tyrant, Crested Becard, Yellowish Pipit, Pale-legged and Two-banded Warblers, Fulvous-headed and Stripe-headed Brush Finches, Orange-headed and Rust-and-yellow Tanagers, Saffron-billed Sparrow, sierra finches, warbling finches, yellow finches, Golden-winged Cacique and Black Siskin. Also a chance of Grey-necked Wood Rail, Rufous-sided Crake and Andean Lapwing.

    Plants
    A great variety of cacti, including epiphytic ones hanging from trees, most of which usually flower in late October-early November.

    Other Natural Wonders of Northern Argentina

    Humahuaca Valley The colourful rock faces known as the ‘Painter’s Palette’ are one of the highlights of this impressive high-altitude valley.

    Best Sites for Wildlife in Northern Argentina

    Best Times for Wildlife in Northern Argentina

    Mid-October to mid-December, the southern spring, is the best time for birds. The best time to see the widest variety of cacti in flower is usually late October-early November.

    Recommended Books etc. for Northern Argentina

    Birds of Argentina by M Pearman (Two volumes). Helm, due 2017.

    Birds of Argentina and Uruguay: A Field Guide by T Narosky and D Yzurieta. Vazquez Mazzini Editores SLR, 2003.

    Birds of Southern South America and Antarctica by M R de la Pena and M Rumboll. Collins, 1998.

    Birds of South America: Non-Passerines by J R Roderiguez Mata et al. Harper Collins, 2006.

    The Birds of South America: Passerines by R S Ridgely and G Tudor. University of Texas Press, 1989 and 1994 (Two volumes).

    Mammals of South America by R D Lord. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.

    Where to watch birds in South America by N Wheatley. Helm, 1994.

    Don’t know which country/countries to visit in South America? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this book, written by this website’s author. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to the best birds and the best places to look for them on the continent, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet. However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered, lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.

    Trip Reports for Northern Argentina

    Many trip reports, some for Northern Argentina, 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 Northern Argentina. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Northern Argentina' below.

    Local Guides and Tours in Northern Argentina

    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 Northern Argentina

    Some Organized Tours to Northern Argentina

    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.

    Tour companies who run organized tours or can arrange custom tours to Northern Argentina include the following.