Birding Tours and Nature Photography in Southern South America

Regions

Southern South America includes Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. It hosts a surprising diversity of habitats and landscapes. From hot Amazonian rainforest to cold islands in the southernmost tip of the world; from the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere (Mt. Aconcagua 6989 m) to the 4560 km long South Atlantic coastline, these countries offer superb birding experiences in the following habitats:

Regions

The Central Valley is an endemic region of Chile that used to be a forest with drier surrounding woods in the Region of Araucanía. At present it has the highest concentration of human population and is mostly farmland landscape, interesting for birding because some endemic species from the north have dispersed to this area.

It extends along the South Atlantic Coast on the Argentinean side and the South Pacific Coast on the Chilean side. It includes very different areas, from crab-crowded coastal marshes to vast sandy and rocky beaches at the foot of high cliffs - very important for resident and migratory bird species.

This forest lies in the Patagonian Andes and Tierra del Fuego, in both Argentina and Chile. It is cold and humid, mostly covered by thick beech forests of the genus Nothofagus, and the living fossil “Araucarias” (in the North). Numerous endemic species are found here, in one of the wildest regions of South America.

This is a vast, grassy and shrubby steppe that covers most of Patagonia (South of Argentina). The climate is cold, dry and very windy. Although birds are easy to observe, the number and abundance of species is lower than in other regions due to the scarcity of resources, except in wetlands and transitional areas. But it still offers plenty of interesting species to be sighted.

This is a region that covers the vast Andean Mountain Range and its foothills from Peru to the north of Patagonia, including the Andean Plateau, over 3200 m. ASL. It is usually cold and dry, with precipitations in our summer (December to March) - mainly in the form of snow or hail. Most of the species are endemic, and its lakes and mountain springs concentrate a big number and variety of species.

The Iberá Wetlands are a relatively “new” birding destination, and is the 2nd largest wetland area in South America after the Pantanal in Brazil. Encompassing such diverse habitats as permanent subtropical wetlands, grasslands, palm groves, forests, savannahs and woods, Iberá provides a haunting natural habitat for more than 330 bird species.

This area has subtropical, warm and humid rainforests in the northeast of Argentina, around the Iguazú Falls, and following the Paraná and Uruguay rivers. Including the crowns of gigantic emerging trees, Misiones also has the largest number of endemic or exclusive species in the country, making it a paradise for birdwatchers.

It is one of the five largest deltas in the world: a pristine system of islands, with diverse habitats and a very rich birdlife. It is mostly wetlands, with patches of grasslands, reed-beds and riverside forests. Miles of dirt roads and bridges allow easy birding, with abundant amount of individuals and good levels of active bird life all year round, even at midday’s!

It comprises most of central and east Argentina and Uruguay, with regular year-round rainfalls. This area is covered mostly by vast and dense grasslands, and still has protected areas though today it’s mainly farmland. It contains lakes, mudflats and Tala woods.

The Chaco is a complex array of forests in the North of Argentina. Habitats in this area include savannas with palm groves, wet woods on the East (Humid Chaco) and thick woods on the West (Dry Chaco). Usually warm, with low annual rain fall. The Espinal area (which means “thorny area”) is included here and occupies huge surfaces around the Pampas

It is a mountain rainforest that comes from Colombia and enters Argentina along the eastern side of the Andes, around 350 m. to 3100 m. ASL. The weather is usually warm and humid. It rains mainly in southern spring and summer (September to March). It is a region rich in bird species, with many endemic ones too.

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