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  • Where to watch BIRDS and

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  • Photograph of Southern Right Whale

    Southern Right Whale breaching off the Valdes Peninsula by Marie-France Grenouillet.

  • Where to watch birds and wildlife in

    Best Birds and other wildlife in Southern Argentina


    Endemics (7 out of 17)
    White-headed Steamerduck, Hooded Grebe (also recorded in Chile), Sandy Gallito, Patagonian Canastero, White-throated Cacholote, Rusty-backed Monjita (also recorded in Brazil and Chile) and Carbon(ated) Sierra-finch. Also a chance of Cinnamon Warbling-finch.

    (The other endemics are Moreno’s (Bare-eyed) Ground-dove, White-browed Tapaculo, Cordoba Cinclodes, Olrog’s Cinclodes, Steinbach’s Canastero, Salinas Monjita, Yellow-striped Brush-finch, Tucuman Mountain-finch (also a few records from Bolivia), Cinnamon Warbling-finch and Monte Yellow-finch)


    Argentina and Chile 49 (not all possible on the main circuit)
    Lesser Rhea, Patagonian Tinamou, Ashy-headed Goose, Magellanic (Flightless) Steamerduck, Spectacled Duck, Chilean Pigeon, Green-backed Firecrown, Austral Rail, Magellanic Plover, White-bellied Seedsnipe, Fuegian Snipe, Austral Pygmy-owl, Rufous-legged Owl, Chilean (Bicoloured) Hawk, Rufous-tailed Hawk, Magellanic Woodpecker, Chilean Flicker, White-throated Caracara, Austral Parakeet, Burrowing Parrot, Chestnut-throated Huet-huet, Black-throated Huet-huet, Chucao Tapaculo, Ochre-flanked Tapaculo, Magellanic Tapaculo, Short-billed Miner, Creamy-rumped Miner, White-throated Treerunner, Band-tailed Earthcreeper, Forest (Scale-throated) Earthcreeper, Black (Blackish) Cinclodes (Tierra del Fuego), Grey-flanked Cinclodes, Dark-bellied Cinclodes, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, Des Murs’s Wiretail, Pallid (Plain-mantled) Tit-spinetail, Austral Canastero, Rufous-tailed Plantcutter, Patagonian Tyrant, Fire-eyed Diucon, Great Shrike-tyrant, Chilean Mockingbird, Patagonian Mockingbird, Austral Blackbird, Patagonian Yellow-finch, Greater Yellow-finch, Grey-hooded Sierra-finch, Patagonian Sierra-finch and Yellow-bridled Finch.

    Argentina, Chile and Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas 17 (not all possible on the main circuit)
    Kelp Goose, Upland Goose, Ruddy-headed Goose, Flying Steamerduck, Magellanic Penguin (mostly Sep-Mar, with young from Dec), Magellanic Diving-petrel, Rock Shag (Magellanic Cormorant), Imperial Shag, Magellanic Oystercatcher, Two-banded Plover (range also reaches Brazil), Rufous-chested Plover (range also reaches Brazil), Dolphin Gull, Striated Caracara, Austral Thrush, Black-chinned Siskin, Long-tailed Meadowlark and White-bridled Finch.

    Argentina, South Georgia and Antarctica 1
    Snowy Sheathbill (mostly Nov-Dec).

    Other specialities
    Elegant Crested Tinamou, Gentoo Penguin, Tawny-throated Dotterel and Yellow Cardinal. Also a chance of King Penguin.

    Lesser Rhea, Black-necked and Coscoroba Swans, ducks including Torrent Duck, grebes, Black-browed Albatross, Southern Giant-petrel, Black-faced Ibis, Chilean Flamingo, Andean Condor, Black-chested Buzzard-eagle, Aplomado Falcon, Blackish Oystercatcher, Hudsonian Godwit, Grey-breasted and Least Seedsnipes, Chilean and Brown (Antarctic) Skuas, Great (Magellanic) Horned Owl, Ringed Kingfisher, miners, cinclodes, canasteros, ground-tyrants, Chocolate-vented and Spectacled Tyrants, Many-coloured Rush-tyrant, Austral Negrito, Black-crowned Monjita, White-tipped Plantcutter and sierra-finches.

    Killer Whale (see above), Southern Right Whale (Jul-Dec, mostly Sep-Nov), Southern Elephant Seal, Southern Sealion, Dusky Dolphin, Guanaco, Vicuna, Patagonian Cavy and Patagonian Mara. Also a chance of Commerson's Dolphin, and Large Hairy and Pink Fairy Armadillos.

    Other Natural Wonders of Southern Argentina

    Perito Moreno Glacier One of the most accessible and spectacular glaciers in the world, in the appropriately named Glacier National Park.

    Best Sites for Birds and other wildlife in Southern Argentina

    Photograph of Magellanic Woodpecker

    A huge Magellanic Woodpecker by John Foster.

    Best Times for Birds and other wildlife in Southern Argentina

    The best time to look for Killer Whales hunting sealion pups is usually the second half of March when the highest numbers of pups are on the beaches, preparing to go to sea for the first time. The adult sealions are usually present from December to March. The numbers of Southern Right Whales usually peak between September and November which partly coincides with the period mid-October to mid-December which is the southern spring and best time to look for birds. Magellanic Penguins are usually at their rookery on Punta Tombo from September to mid-March and their eggs usually hatch at the beginning of December.

    Recommended Bird Books etc. for Southern Argentina

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

    Birds of Argentina by M Pearman (Two volumes). Helm, due 2020+.

    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 Chile by A Jaramillo. Princeton University Press, 2003.

    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).

    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 Southern Argentina

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

    Local bird and wildlife guides in Southern 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 Southern Argentina

    Some Organized Tours for birds and other wildlife to Southern 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 Southern Argentina include the following.