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  • Photograph of Andean Condor

    The magnificent Andean Condor by Dubi Shapiro.

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    Best Birds and other wildlife in Northern Argentina


    Endemics 8 (out of 17)
    Of Argentina’s 17 endemics eight occur in this region; Moreno's (Bare-eyed) Ground-dove, Steinbach’s Canastero, White-throated Cachalote, Sandy Gallito, White-browed Tapaculo, Yellow-striped Brush-finch, Tucuman Mountain-finch (also a few records from Bolivia) and Monte Yellow-finch.

    (The country's other endemics are White-headed Steamerduck, Hooded Grebe (also recorded in Chile), Cordoba and Olrog's Cinclodes, Patagonian Canastero, Rusty-backed (also recorded in Brazil and Chile) and Salinas Monjitas, Carbon(ated) Sierra-finch and Cinnamon Warbling-finch)


    Argentina and Bolivia 29
    Huayco Tinamou, Red-faced Guan, Yungas (Large-tailed) Dove, Rothschild’s Swift, Red-tailed Comet, Wedge-tailed Hillstar, Blue-capped Puffleg, Slender-tailed Woodstar, Yungas Screech-owl, Dot-fronted Woodpecker, Tucuman Amazon, Zimmer’s Tapaculo, Bolivian Earthcreeper, Brown-capped Tit-spinetail, Spot-breasted Thornbird, Creamy-breasted Canastero, Maquis Canastero, Rufous-throated Dipper, Brown-backed Mockingbird, Stripe-crowned (Saffron-billed) Sparrow, Fulvous-headed Brush-finch, Brown-capped Whitestart, Bolivian Warbling-finch, Black-and-chestnut Warbling-finch, Rufous-sided Warbling-finch, Rusty-browed Warbling-finch, Citron-headed Yellow-finch, Rufous-bellied Mountain-tanager and Grey-crested Finch.

    Argentina and Paraguay 4
    Quebracho Crested Tinamou, Tucuman (Ferruginous) Pygmy-owl, Strange-tailed Tyrant and Pampas Pipit.

    Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay 8
    Chaco Owl, Black-bodied Woodpecker, Black-legged Seriema, Olive-crowned Crescentchest, Crested Gallito, Stripe-capped Sparrow, Black-breasted (Ringed) Warbling-finch and Black-crested Finch.

    Argentina, Bolivia and Peru 13
    Ocellated Piculet, White-throated Antpitta, Tawny Tit-spinetail, Scribble-tailed Canastero, Buff-banded Tyrannulet, Golden-crowned Flycatcher, Rufous-webbed Bush-tyrant, Andean Swallow, White-browed Brush-finch, Pale-legged Warbler, Two-banded Warbler, Rust-and-yellow Tanager and Short-tailed Finch.

    Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and Chile 12
    Andean and Puna (James's) Flamingos, Giant Coot, Andean Avocet, Diademed Sandpiper Plover, Puna Plover, Andean Hillstar, Buff-breasted Earthcreeper, Rufous-naped Ground-tyrant, Black Siskin, Puna Yellow-finch and Black-hooded Sierra-finch.

    Argentina, Bolivia and Chile 6
    Elegant Crested Tinamou, White-sided Hillstar, Horned Coot, Rock Earthcreeper, Sombre (Chiguanco) Thrush and Red-backed Sierra-finch.

    Other specialities
    Chilean Flamingo, Black-legged and Red-legged Seriemas, Grey-breasted Seedsnipe, Burrowing Parrot, Chaco (Spot-backed) Puffbird, Cream-backed and White-fronted Woodpeckers, Giant Antshrike and White-tipped Plantcutter. Also a chance of Toco Toucan, Great Rufous and Scimitar-billed Woodcreepers, and White-throated Antpitta.

    Lesser (Puna) Rhea, tinamous, Andean Goose, Torrent Duck and other ducks, Great Grebe, Buff-necked Ibis, Andean Condor, (American) Swallow-tailed Kite, Variable Hawk, Mountain Caracara, Aplomado Falcon, Plumbeous Rail, coots, shorebirds, Andean Gull, ground-doves, Yellow-collared Macaw, parakeets, Squirrel Cuckoo, Burrowing Owl, Andean Swift, Giant Hummingbird, Blue-crowned Trogon, woodpeckers, miners, 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, and Black-billed and Grey-bellied Shrike-tyrants, Crested Becard, Yellowish Pipit, Orange-headed Tanager, sierra-finches, warbling-finches, yellow-finches and Golden-winged Cacique.

    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.

    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 Birds and other wildlife in Northern Argentina

    Best Times for Birds and other 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 Bird Books etc. for Northern Argentina

    Birds of Argentina by M Pearman (Two volumes). Helm, 2021.

    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.

    Birds of South America: Passerines by R S Ridgely and G Tudor. University of Texas Press/Helm, 2009 (Updated paperback edition of books listed next with 400 more illustrations).

    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.

    Birding and Wildlife 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 bird and wildlife guides 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 for birders in Northern Argentina

    Some Organized Tours for birds and other wildlife 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.