Incredible Birdwatching in Patagonia, Argentina

in Pinmapplelast year

From top to bottom Argentina is a bird lovers paradise. Recently Heidi and I traveled across Argentina searching for beautiful views, hikes, and of course wildlife. We knew that incredible hikes to glaciers, mountain vistas, lakes, and waterfalls existed across the country but we were surprised at the amazing birdwatching opportunities.

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Austral Parakeet near Ushuaia

 The same places you travel for amazing views; Ushuaia, El Calafate, El Chalten, and Iguazu are the same places that birders 'in the know' travel for big time bird watching. The different environments change from cold ocean in Ushuai, to desert and freshwater lakes in Patagonia, to tropical jungle in Iguazu. Because of this the opportunities to see very different bird species change as well, from penguins down south to toucans up north.

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Tern hovering over the water

Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego National Park: We will start down south in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Here a boat trip out into the famous Beagle Canal gives you chances to see comorants, penguins, skuas, albatross, and terns, among other deep south ocean birds. Then a trip into Tierra del Fuego provides a wonderful chance for forest birds, like the Magellanic woodpecker, austral parakeet, and southern caracara as well as freshwater species like the spectacled duck and steamer duck.

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Chilean Flamingos, Reserva Laguna Nimez

El Calafate and El Chalten: A 17 hour bus ride or couple hour flight to the north takes you deep into the heart of Patagonia. Here the snow capped peaks of the Andes Mountains send glacial fed rivers out into the desert-like landscape of Patagonian ranchlands. This uncommon environments is home to some amazing birdlife. Ostrich-like landbirds called rhea run amongst the prickly calfate shrubs, while caracara, condors, and eagles line the fence post and circle the sky looking for their next meal.

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Upland Goose, El Calafate

In El Calafate the edge of the glacial lake a quaint nature reserve called the Reserva Laguna Nimez plays host to a multitude of exotic species like the Chilean flamingo, upland goose, southern lapwings, and nesting harriers. Also if you get a chance to drive towards Perito Moreno Glacier on some of the back roads you increase your opportunities for condor, eagle, caracara, and rhea
sightings.

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Toco Toucan at Iguazu Falls

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Scarlet Macaw, Iguazu

Iguazu Falls: All the way on the north eastern border of Argentina and Brazil you will find a totally different environment housing new species of birds. It almost feels like you are descending into the Amazon basin as you walk around the miles of boardwalks set up for sightseeing inside the Iguazu Falls National Park. The trick here is to come early in the morning before the crowds. This will give you your best shot for seeing rare toucan species that call this area home. Great dusky swifts are seen near the waterfalls, their nest actually hidden in the cliffs behind the falling water. Another can't miss are the plush-crested jays. These beautiful birds frequent the boardwalks, especially where visitors tend to stop for picnic style snacks.

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Plush-Crested Jay, Iguazu Falls

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Eagle near Iguazu Falls

It turns out that South America is one of the best places in the world for birding. Thousands of species exists on the continent leaving you all kinds of options. Argentina is such a birding hot spot because the country stretches across so many different ecosystems. Just another reason to add it to your travel list.

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Austral Pygmy Owl at Perito Moreno Glacier
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Austral Pygmy Owl, Patagonia

-Dai Mar Tamarack

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Amazing bird portraits!

from penguins down south to toucans up north

Truly bird lovers' paradise. :)

Tierra del Fuego

I love the sound of this name after reading A Naturalist's Voyage Round the World: The Voyage of the Beagle by Darwin. The chapters about Tierra del Fuego are the most exciting.

Stunning photos of all these birds!