Chile Birding Tours
Chile is an impressive country with a width of only 445 kilometers (276 miles) at its widest point from the coastline to the snow-capped Andes but with a length of 4,270 kilometers (2653 miles) along the southern spine of South America. Chile borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south. The Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, and Easter Island in Polynesia. Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometers of Antarctica as the Chilean Antarctic Territory under the Antarctic Treaty of 1959. The country is world-renowned for the history of the controversial Augusto Pinochet right-wing dictatorship from 1973 to 1990, its wealth and good infrastructure, and the famous Chilean wines which have reached almost all corners of the world.
Chile is a fascinating birding destination, hosting a total of 558 species of birds including 12 country endemics, with jewels such as King Penguin, Humboldt Penguin, Magellanic Penguin, Black-headed Duck, Torrent Duck, Andean Condor, Chilean Hawk, Austral Rail, Magellanic Plover, Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, South American Painted-snipe, Slender-billed Parakeet, Rufous-legged Owl, Austral Pygmy Owl, Chilean Woodstar, Chilean Flicker, Magellanic Woodpecker, Many-colored Rush Tyrant, Chocolate-vented Tyrant, Fire-eyed Diucon, Rufous-tailed Plantcutter, Chilean Mockingbird, Tamarugo Conebill, and Black-throated and Yellow-bridled Finches. In addition to these most-wanted species Chile also holds some striking, distinctive, and diverse species of passerines especially in the Furnariidae and Rhinocryptidae families, such as the endemic Crag Chilia, Rufous-banded Miner, White-throated Treerunner, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, Des Murs’s Wiretail, and Dusky-tailed Canastero. Those who are not familiar with the impressive Chucao Tapaculo, White-throated Tapaculo, Black-throated Huet-huet, Chestnut-throated Huet-huet, and Moustached Turca will have to see them to believe how different and striking they are.
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Chile also provides some of the best pelagic trips in this part of the world with gems like Buller’s Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Southern Giant Petrel, Chilean Skua, Inca Tern, Elliot’s Storm Petrel, Markham’s Storm Petrel, Wedge-rumped Storm Petrel, White-bellied Storm Petrel, and with some luck Hornby’s Storm Petrel and Juan Fernandez Petrel.
Chile is blessed with its combination of natural ecosystems and landscapes to offer its visitors, which include the spectacular Lauca National Park in the high Andes near the Bolivian border with views of dry plateaus and Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) in the Atacama Desert, a unique place that gives visitors an otherworldly feeling where the scarce Puna Tinamou is not difficult to find.
The Central Andes around Santiago de Chile can be explored for all national reserves and birding sites around the capital, such as the El Yeso Reservoir, Portillo, Farellones, Yerba Loca Nature Sanctuary, Viña del Mar, and Valparaiso. The southern Chilean temperate rainforests covered by Nothofagus and Araucaria extend to the foothills of the southern volcanos and the incredible Tierra del Fuego, almost to the southernmost tip of the continent. The famous Torres del Paine National Park, a true wonder of nature, is becoming a mandatory stop in itineraries not only due to its natural beauty but also because it offers the best chances in the world to see Puma. With the help of our Birding Ecotours leaders and local trackers we can nearly guarantee views of this majestic cat, known in this part of the world as the Lord of the Andes. Chile also holds some poorly known and secretive wildlife, such as large concentrations of Guanacos, Chilla (South American Grey Fox), Southern River Otter, Tawny Tuco-tuco, Patagonian Huemul (South Andean Deer), and probably two of the rarest creatures on the planet, Monito de Monte (Colocolo Opossum) and Guiña (Kodkod), the smallest cat in the Americas.
We can promise you a good list of spectacular and high-quality bird species, breathtaking views of the best scenery in this part of the Americas, a lot of fun, and tasty Chilean wine to celebrate each successful day during our trip.
Birding Ecotours can also arrange customized trips to the famous and mysterious Easter Island combined with an expedition to the remote Juan Fernández Islands.
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Chile Mammal & Birding: Pumas in Torres del Paine, Southern Patagonia October 2023