Northwest Argentina: Yungas, Chaco and High Andes Birding Tour


Dates and Costs

 

16 September – 02 October 2023

Price: US$7,755  / £6,580 / €7,410 per person sharing

Single Supplement: US$1,237  / £1,050 / €1,182

 

* Please note that currency conversion is calculated in real-time, therefore is subject to slight change. Please refer back to the base price when making final payments.

 

15 – 31 October 2024

Price: US$8,220  / £6,975 / €7,854 per person sharing

Single Supplement: US$1,311 / £1,112 / €1,253


Recommended Field Guide

(Please also read our blogs about recommended field guides for the seven continents here)


Tour Details

Duration: 17 days
Group Size: 6 – 12 (We have a higher limit for this than for most tours.)
Tour Start: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tour End: Buenos Aires, Argentina


Price includes:

Meals (from dinner on day 1 until breakfast on day 17)
Accommodation
Guiding fees (English-speaking guide)
Entrance fees
All transport while on tour
Tolls

Price excludes:

All flights
Items of a personal nature, e.g. gifts
Alcoholic drinks
Personal insurance
Gratuities (please see our tipping guidelines blog)

Download Itinerary

Northwest Argentina: Yungas, Chaco and High Andes Birding Tour
September 2023/October 2024

 

Argentina is the second-largest country in South America and this birding trip offers the opportunity to travel across the northwestern section of this vast and picturesque land. We will go from lowland wetlands of Buenos Aires, through the dry Chaco shrublands and into the lush Yungas cloudforest, before we climb in elevation through the dry Andean valleys and puna mountains to the high Andes in the Altiplano where we seemingly reach the roof of Argentina at 13,000 feet (3,900 meters).

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Rufous-throated Dipper is one of the most-wanted targets of the trip.

 

Our northwest Argentina trip can be considered one of the best birding trips in southern South America as it provides a unique set of birds found only in this part of the world which can be enjoyed by the most serious birder to those only setting foot on the continent for the first time. During this spectacular 17-day birding trip you may feast your eyes on some of the region’s most-wanted species such as Rufous-throated Dipper, Horned Coot, Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, Sandy Gallito, Red-faced Guan, Tucuman Mountain Finch, Moreno’s Ground Dove, Red-tailed Comet, Wedge-tailed Hillstar, the attractive Burrowing Parrot, White-throated Antpitta, Tucumán Amazon, Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Giant Antshrike, Black-legged Seriema and Black-bodied Woodpecker. Other more widespread yet classic neotropical species will include Andean Condor, Andean Goose, Torrent Duck and Southern Screamer, highly prized for those visiting South America for the first time.

Spectacular rock formations greet you along the way into the Andes. You will find high-altitude alkaline lakes filled with three different South American flamingo species including Chilean Flamingo, Andean Flamingo and James’s Flamingo, one of the world’s rarest members of the family. The trip will provide a unique set of waders too, such as Andean Avocet, Puna Plover, Collared Plover, Tawny-throated Dotterel, Andean Lapwing and the most-wanted Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, a highly attractive wader and considered among the 100 top birds in the world for many birdwatchers.

The great Chaco will provide you with both Black-legged and Red-legged Seriemas along with a host of other amazing Chaco birds that, with some luck, will include Lark-like Brushrunner, Black-bodied Woodpecker, Quebracho Crested Tinamou, Chaco Owl and Spot-winged Falconet.

The splendors of the Calilegua National Park include stunning birds such as Yungas Manakin, Golden-collared Macaw, Giant Antshrike, White-throated Antpitta, Tucuman Amazon and with luck Ornate Hawk-Eagle and Solitary Eagle.

Lowland marshes around Buenos Aires are full of water birds including the likes of Maguari Stork, Limpkin, Black-necked Swan, Plumbeous Rail, Whistling Heron and Southern Screamer which will all help boost our already impressive bird list and crown a fantastic trip.

All in all, this is a spectacular tour through Argentina’s famous wine-growing area taking in some of South America’s classic bird species as we traverse varied and breathtaking landscapes.

Northwest Argentina birding toursAndean Goose can be seen in high-altitude wetlands.

 

This tour can be combined with our Birding Tour Argentina: Northeast – Iberá Marshlands and Iguazú National Park, followed by our Birding Tour Argentina: Southern Patagonia – Los Glaciares National Park, Austral Rail and Hooded Grebe tour.

  

Itinerary (17 days/16 nights)

 

Day 1. Arrival in Buenos Aires and Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve

We will meet you on arrival at the Ezeiza International airport in Buenos Aires. You will be transferred to the hotel and if time permits and the group is keen, we can spend our first afternoon birding the Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve. This is a wonderful spot located within the city where we might find Coscoroba Swan, the fabulous-looking Rosy-billed Pochard, Masked Duck, Silver Teal and many other good wildfowl species. Picazuro Pigeon, Gilded Sapphire, Checkered Woodpecker, Green-barred Woodpecker, Wren-like Rushbird, the brightly colored Red-crested Cardinal, Rufous Hornero and Guira Cuckoo are common here and are certainly full of charisma. Monk Parakeet abounds and we usually also find its stunning-looking cousin, Nanday Parakeet. Rufescent Tiger Heron, Chimango Caracara, Grey-breasted Martin, Masked Gnatcatcher and if we are lucky Long-winged Harrier.

Overnight: Hotel Pestana, Buenos Aires

 

Day 2. Flight to Tucumán and transfer to Tafí del Valle

We shall fly to Tucumán and drive from here to Tafí del Valle, where we spend two nights. During our drive we ascend into beautiful cloudforest (Yungas) and start looking for Rufous-throated Dipper (one of the most important birds of the trip). Other good birds to be found in the area include the spectacular Red-tailed Comet, Yellow-striped Brushfinch, Rusty-browed Warbling Finch, White-browed Tapaculo, Torrent Duck, Grey-hooded Parakeet, Aplomado Falcon, Variable Hawk, Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail, Brown-capped Tit-Spinetail and Ornate Tinamou.

Overnight: Hostería Lunahuana, Tafí del Valle

Northwest Argentina birding toursAndean Condor is an iconic bird of the high Andes (photo Alejandro Tello).

 

Day 3. Birding the Tafí del Valle area

This always proves to be an exciting, birding-packed day, as we bird at various altitudes. We start the day by ascending the El Infiernillo Pass until we are high above the tree line, often seeing Burrowing Owl and the good-looking Black Siskin sitting on fence posts as the van climbs. We stop and do short walks at a couple of high-altitude sites in search of a mouth-watering list of targets. These include two Argentinian endemics, Moreno’s Ground Dove and Tucuman Mountain Finch. Andean Flicker is fairly common and likes to sit atop boulders. This is also usually where we see our first Andean Condor and with luck, we might also encounter Cinereous Harrier. Various high-altitude finches abound too. We have a special site for Scribble-tailed Canastero, but this involves a steep walk, so do speak to your guide in advance in case you want to skip this. It’s worth seeing though as it’s a highly range-restricted species! While here we will also look for Rock and Buff-breasted Earthcreepers, Maquis Canastero, Monte Yellow Finch, Rufous-bellied Mountain Tanager and Brown-backed Mockingbird.

After what will hopefully have been an amazing morning, we will enjoy lunch and then head to a small lake, where we hope to see Andean Goose, Andean Coot, Andean Gull and others. Usually, we then continue back to the cloudforest to clean up on species we may have missed the previous afternoon – Rufous-throated Dipper, of course, being the main target if we haven’t seen it yet.

Overnight: Hostería Lunahuana, Tafí del Valle

 

Day 4. Birding the Monte Desert

We will leave Tafí del Valle and ascend the El Infiernillo Pass, continuing beyond into the dry Calchaquí Valleys and birding the majestic Monte Desert with its large cacti. The poorly-known Sandy Gallito, White-throated Cacholote (endemic) and Patagonian Mockingbird are the major targets. We will of course look for a lot of other birds, such as Greenish Yellow Finch, Rufous-sided Warbling Finch, Ringed Warbling Finch, White-browed Brushfinch, Band-tailed Sierra Finch, Black-winged and Moreno’s Ground Doves, Slender-billed and Rufous-banded Miner, Streak-fronted Thornbird, Puna Canastero, White-browed Chat-Tyrant and the noisy Greater Wagtail-Tyrant.

Overnight: Viñas de Cafayate Wine Resort

 

Day 5. Cafayate to Coronel Moldes

We continue our exciting journey that traverses the spectacular scenery of Argentina’s wine country looking for Long-tailed Meadowlark, Burrowing Parrot, Tufted Tit-Spinetail, Yellow-billed Tit-Tyrant, Rusty-vented Canastero, the endemic Steinbach’s Canastero, Many-colored Chaco Finch, Band-tailed Sierra Finch, Green-barred and White-fronted Woodpeckers, Golden-billed Saltator, Chaco Earthcreeper, White-tipped Plantcutter, Ultramarine Grosbeak, Pampa Finch, Stripe-crowned Spinetail,  and, as always, many others.

We spend some of the morning driving through the picturesque Enchanted Valley. After lunch we spend some time birding transitional forest in the canyon formed by the Juramento River. We’ll be looking for sought-after denizens of this arid region, including Crested Gallito, Spot-winged Falconet, Red-legged Seriema, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle and the poorly known Sandy Gallito.

Overnight: Hostería Cabra Corral, Coronel Moldes

 

Day 6. Bishop’s Slope via Los Cardones National Park

The scenery today arguably gets even better (if that is possible) as we drive through Los Cardones National Park and other remarkable areas. We might see our first of some unusual and spectacular hummingbirds such as Red-tailed Comet and White-sided Hillstar while Rufous-bellied Mountain Tanager is also one of our key targets. We should add further parrots to our list which might include Scaly-headed Parrot and Grey-hooded Parakeet. A high-altitude bird that we really hope will cooperate is Zimmer’s Tapaculo. Rock Earthcreeper and Rufous-banded Miner are usually easy enough to find.

Then we will head to Salta looking for Cream-backed Woodpecker, Smoke-colored Pewee, Rough-legged Tyrannulet, White-bellied Hummingbird, the beautiful Plush-crested Jay, Golden-winged Cacique and Grey-cowled Wood Rail.

Overnight: Hotel Boutique Villa Vicuña, Salta

Northwest Argentina birding toursThe handsome Cream-backed Woodpecker is possible around Salta.

 

Day 7. Salta to the Chaco habitats of Joaquín V. González

Today we shall explore El Chaco where a diverse array of new birds awaits us. This dry desert, dominated by scrub and large cacti, is found only in northern Argentina, Paraguay and southern Bolivia. There is a long list of immensely-wanted species, such as Black-legged Seriema, Tataupa Tinamou, Brushland Tinamou and the spectacular-looking Quebracho Crested Tinamou, Chaco Chachalaca, Many-colored Chaco Finch, the sought-after Black-bodied Woodpecker, spectacular woodcreepers such as Red-billed Scythebill, Scimitar-billed Woodcreeper, Great Rufous Woodcreeper and their smaller relative, Narrow-billed Woodcreeper. Chaco Puffbird will hopefully be added to our list at some point. Spot-winged Falconet is never easy and it usually needs quite a bit of work. Much easier are Lark-like Brushrunner, Crested Hornero, the sometimes-skulking Crested Gallito, Chaco Earthcreeper should hopefully be found too while new parrot species add splashes of color. As always, there are far more birds than we can mention here and these two days represent the most productive days of the trip in terms of adding many high-quality species to our growing bird list. We should mention that we’ll be sure to try for Chaco Owl at night.

Overnight: Hotel Rass Ballbeck, Taco Pozo, Chaco

Northwest Argentina birding tours
The most-wanted Black-legged Seriema is one of the main targets in the Chaco.

 

Day 8. Chaco habitats at Joaquin V. González to Calilegua National Park

This is another day looking for specials of the thorny habitats of the Chaco woodlands. Among the many species we might encounter are Greater Rhea, Tataupa Tinamou, Bicolored Hawk, Blue-crowned Parakeet, Striped Cuckoo, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Blue-tufted Starthroat, Chaco Puffbird, Chaco Earthcreeper, White-barred Piculet, White Woodpecker, Campo Flicker, Turquoise-fronted Amazon, Great Antshrike, Variable Antshrike and Stripe-backed Antbird. From here, we drive to Calilegua National Park, looking for birds we may have previously missed.

Calilegua National Park is a stunning destination for birding. It protects important Yungas cloudforest habitat and we will get to explore this impressive park and its avifauna over the next couple of days.

Overnight: Posada del Sol, Calilegua

 

Day 9. Birding Calilegua National Park

We spend an entire day in Calilegua National Park itself and on the second day we bird beyond the park as far as the small town of San Francisco. We have a long list of tantalizing birds to find. The steep, forested slopes are home to birds like Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle, Black-and-chestnut Eagle, Solitary Eagle, Bat Falcon, Dusky-legged Guan, Golden-collared Macaw, Speckled Hummingbird, Blue-capped Puffleg, Slender-tailed Woodstar, Blue-crowned Trogon, Yungas Manakin, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Great Rufous Woodcreeper, Black-banded Woodcreeper, Giant Antshrike, Sclater’s Tyrannulet, White-throated Antpitta, Mountain Wren, Sclater’s Nightingale-Thrush, Glossy-black Thrush, Rusty-browed Warbling Finch, Grey-browed Brushfinch, Crested Oropendola and Yungas Pygmy Owl.

Overnight: Posada del Sol, Calilegua

Northwest Argentina birding toursDusky-legged Guan can be seen in the forests of Calilegua National Park.

 

Day 10. Calilegua to Potrero de Yala Provincial Park

Today will be our second day birding in this lush region of Calilegua National Park. We shall look for species such as Blue-crowned Trogon, Toco Toucan, Dot-fronted Woodpecker, Streaked Xenops, Ochre-faced Tody-Flycatcher, Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulet, Saffron-billed Sparrow, Two-banded Warbler, Orange-headed Tanager, Ochre-cheeked Spinetail, Brown-capped Whitestart, Andean Slaty Thrush, White-tailed Kite, Swallow-tailed Kite and the shy White-browed Tapaculo.

Over the last few years, a pair of Harpy Eagles has sometimes been seen from the upper roads of the park, although we would consider ourselves most fortunate with a sighting of this massive eagle! In the afternoon we will drive from Calilegua to Potrero de Yala Provincial Park, another wonderful transitional Yungas habitat.

Overnight: La Posta del Lozano, Yala

 

Day 11. Potrero de Yala Provincial Park

Today we will have a predawn start to look for some night birds including the spectacular male Lyre-tailed Nightjar and Yungas Screech Owl which are usually not too difficult to find on the outskirts of town. Red-faced Guan is one of our major targets and can be tricky, but of course we usually find it with persistence. The localized Tucuman Amazon is another target of this trip. We shall look for the Streak-throated Bush Tyrant, Chilean Elaenia, Rufous-capped Antshrike, Spot-breasted Thornbird, Buff-browed Foliage-gleaner, Mountain Wren, Sooty-fronted Spinetail, Blue-and-yellow Tanager, Glittering-bellied Emerald, Yellow-browed Tyrant, Crested Becard and Golden-rumped Euphonia.

Overnight: La Posta del Lozano, Yala

 

Day 12. Birding the Humahuaca Ravine

Today we drive higher along the Humahuaca Valley, birding the puna salt lakes and highland-lake habitats as we approach the town of La Quiaca on the Bolivian border at 12,000 feet (3,650 meters). We’ll bird the dry valley along the way, looking for Lesser Rhea, Andean Condor, Mountain Caracara, Mountain Parakeet, Andean Swallow, Rufous-banded and Puna Miners, Puna Yellow Finch, Andean Negrito, Brown-backed Mockingbird, Black-hooded Sierra Finch and Black Siskin.

From La Quiaca we drive south, passing the Laguna de los Pozuelos National Park, a huge Altiplano lake, where we have a chance to see the most-wanted Horned Coot. From here we will continue our drive towards Tilcara.

Overnight: Hotel Las Marias, Tilcara

 

Day 13. Puna Lakes and transfer to Yavi

From Tilcara we continue driving northward (and higher), passing a number of lakes, where we have the chance to admire the stunning Argentinean Altiplano, while hopefully finding Andean Gull, Andean Coot, Giant Coot, Andean Goose, Puna Teal, Crested Duck, Puna Ibis, Andean Avocet, Puna Plover, Chilean, Andean and James’s Flamingos, Cordilleran Canastero and Grey-breasted Seedsnipe.

Overnight: Posada Tika, Yavi

Northwest Argentina birding toursThe Diademed Sandpiper-Plover is another trip target in the high Andes of Argentina.

 

Day 14. Yavi

Yavi is a small hamlet that is home to the range-restricted Citron-headed Yellow Finch. We will also bird the highland valleys above, looking for Rufous-backed Inca Finch. Here we will also have a chance for Mourning Sierra Finch, Puna and Bright-rumped Yellow Finches, Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant, Cream-winged Cinclodes and Spot-winged Pigeon. The star bird we’ll be looking for, however, is Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, a rare high-elevation wader restricted to mossy tundra, grasslands and bogs in northern Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru.

Overnight: Posada Tika, Yavi

 

Day 15. Birding the high Puna

From Yavi we ascend to over 12,000 feet (3,650 meters) above sea level, searching for further specials such as Lesser Rhea, Ornate Tinamou, Puna Tinamou, Puna Yellow Finch, Puna, Spot-billed and Rufous-naped Ground Tyrants, Grey-bellied Shrike-Tyrant, Straight-billed Earthcreeper, Golden-spotted Ground Dove, Common Miner, Puna Miner and Andean Swallow. The high Andes of this section of Argentina are good to see other wildlife like wild Guanaco, Vicuna, Montane Vizcacha and with luck the distinctive Highland Tuco-Tuco, an endemic burrowing rodent of this part of the continent that resembles North American Prairie Dogs.

Overnight: Posada Tika, Yavi

Northwest Argentina birding toursMontane Vizcacha is one of the several interesting mammals to see on this tour (photo Alejandro Tello).

 

Day 16. Flight from Jujuy to Buenos Aires

We bird the area further, then eventually drive to Jujuy (about 1.5 hours away) for our afternoon flight back to Buenos Aires. Here, back in the big city, we hope to have some time to clean up on birds we may have previously missed.

Overnight: Hotel Pestana, Buenos Aires

 

Day 17. Otamendi Reserve and transfer to Ezeiza International airport

On our last day, we will invest some time in the morning to visit the Otamendi Reserve near Buenos Aires. The wetlands here hold a large amount of water species including Southern Screamer, Brazilian Teal, Limpkin, Snowy and Great Egrets, Whistling Heron, Giant Wood Rail, Plumbeous Rail, Black-necked Swan, Anhinga, Wood Stork, Maguari Stork, Cocoi Heron, Rufescent Tiger Heron, White-winged Coot, White-faced Ibis, Cinnamon Teal, Wattled Jacana and Fulvous Whistling Duck. Other species include Snail Kite, Grassland Yellow Finch, Many-colored Rush-Tyrant, Yellow-chinned Spinetail and the most wanted Curve-billed and Straight-billed Reedhaunters, both secretive reed dwellers and among the most-prized furnarids for birders.

After a busy morning at Otamendi we shall return to the hotel and be transferred to the Ezeiza International airport to connect our international flights.

 

 

Please note that the itinerary cannot be guaranteed as it is only a rough guide and can be changed (usually slightly) due to factors such as availability of accommodation, updated information on the state of accommodation, roads, or birding sites, the discretion of the guides and other factors. In addition, we sometimes have to use a different international guide from the one advertised due to tour scheduling.

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Northwest Argentina: Yungas, Chaco, and High Andes Trip Report

10 – 27 OCTOBER 2022

By Jacob Roalef

DOWNLOAD TRIP REPORT

 

The dinosaur-like Red-legged Seriema was the unanimous favorite of the trip!

Overview

This incredible set departure tour of Argentina began in Buenos Aires with one day of birding before taking a domestic flight to Tucuman and exploring the northwest provinces of Tucuman, Salta, and Jujuy before eventually flying back to Buenos Aires for more birding and the tour’s conclusion. Some incredible birding locations were visited including Ceibas Road, Calilegua National Park, the Monte Desert, Potrero de Yala Provincial Park, Cardones National Park,  dry Chaco, Lizoite Vega, Laguna Runtuyoc and Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve.

The tour was very successful as it connected with many endemic and near-endemic species along with regional specials and migrants, summing up to a great trip list. Avian highlights included Red-legged Seriema, Red-faced Guan, Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, Sandy Gallito, Moreno’s Ground-Dove, Spot-backed Puffbird, Black-crowned Monjita, White-browed Tapaculo, Steinbach’s Canastero, White-throated Cacholote, Rufous-capped Antshrike, Montane Forest Screech-Owl, James’s, Chilean and Andean Flamingos, Tucuman Mountain Finch, Cream-backed Woodpecker, Giant Coot, Red-tailed Comet, Rufous-throated Dipper and Andean Tinamou.

A total of 345 bird species were seen with one additional heard only species bringing the total recorded to 346. In addition to the birds, some nice mammals were spotted including Vicuna, Guanaco, Southern Mountain Viscacha, Azaras’s Capuchin, and Gray Brocket. Full bird and mammal checklists can be found at the end of the report.

The group enjoyed stellar views of the range-restricted Red-faced Guan.

Detailed Report

Day 1, 10th October 2022. Birding along Ceibas Road

All participants of the tour arrived the previous day and after a bit of birding in Buenos Aires parks were ready to get the tour started! Due to the holiday weekend in Argentina, we decided it was best to head outside the city, so we headed off to the fabulous birding area of Ceibas Road. This massive delta area mixed with open cattle grazing and savannah habitats is amazingly bird-rich and provided opportunity to see some species that are not present in the northwest. We started off the morning getting familiar with a few of the more common species such as Rufous Hornero, Blue-and-white Swallow, Crested Caracara, Saffron Finch, Picui Ground Dove, and of course the ubiquitous Rufous-collared Sparrow. We spent most of the morning walking slowly up the roadside as there were birds everywhere we turned. It was an excellent first morning ticking off more than 60 species including Whistling Heron, White-fronted Woodpecker, Savannah Hawk, Brown Cacholote, Chotoy Spinetail, White-naped Xenopsaris and Blue-grey Saltator. We then headed off for lunch together and our first of many delicious empanadas!

This Plumbeous Rail was really glowing in the sunlight.

After filling up our bellies, we headed back out to Ceibas Road and picked up where we had left off. We stopped at a small puddle, again noting the gorgeous Whistling Heron, along with Silver, Brazilian, and Ringed Teals and Southern Screamer. A bit further along the road we were enamored with a family of stunning White Woodpeckers on a telephone pole and the amazing nest-building skills of the Firewood-gatherer. From here, we continued up the long road and got into more wetland habitat which provided even more species diversity. A few of the highlights included Plumbeous Rail, Warbling Doradito, White Monjita, Brown-and-yellow Marshbird, Long-winged Harrier, Sulphur-bearded Reedhaunter and Yellow-browed Tyrant. On our journey back to Buenos Aires our driver spotted a gorgeous Scarlet-headed Blackbird just before leaving Ceibas! This was a fantastic bird to cap off a fantastic first day.

 

Day 2, 11th October 2022. Flight to Tucuman and Birding Sosa River and Dique la Angostura

Very early we went to the airport to catch our domestic flight to Tucuman, for our first taste of northwest Argentina. After a smooth flight, we gathered our luggage and headed towards Tafi del Valle. A brief rest stop along the way yielded Roadside Hawk and Sayaca Tanager. After arriving in Tafi, we enjoyed a nice lunch and checked into the hotel before an afternoon session of birding. First up was Dique la Angostura, a sizable body of water hosting some nice water species including Andean Goose, Red Shoveler, Andean Coot, Grey-hooded Gull and Yellow-billed Pintail. Then we explored a few stops along the gorgeous Sosa River. Highlights from here included two endemics, White-browed Tapaculo and Yellow-striped Brushfinch! Just before heading back, we made another stop on the bridge overlooking the river and enjoyed views of the always brilliant Torrent Duck as it worked its way upriver. It was then time for dinner and some needed rest after a long day of travel and birding.

 

Day 3, 12th October 2022. Infiernillo Pass and more Sosa River

We enjoyed some coffee and breakfast before driving to Infiernillo Pass and some higher altitude birding. It was a beautiful morning, with perfect weather for exploring the grasslands here. Right away we were treated to excellent views of Variable Hawk, White-browed Chat-Tyrant, Grey-hooded Parakeet, and Red-tailed Comet. As we wondered further into the grasses, we picked up more and more birds including Hellmayr’s Pipit, Andean Flicker, Black-winged Ground Dove, and Streak-fronted Thronbird. We also had a gorgeous Black-chested Buzzard Eagle and got onto the endemic Tucuman Mountain Finch. Our next stop involved hiking along a small stream bed, where we saw a small group of the endemic Moreno’s Ground Dove. Other highlights included Buff-breasted Earthcreeper, Puna and Cordilleran Canasteros, Black Siskin and Plumbeous Sierra Finch. At the top of the pass, we enjoyed the breathtaking views and picked up a Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant, before heading back to Tafi for lunch.

We headed back to the Sosa River for the afternoon. We saw some of the same species from the previous day, like Yellow-striped Brushfinch, Brown-capped Whitestart and Mountain Wren, as we continued to scour up and down the fast-moving river for our main target. At our final location we were successful! A pair of Rufous-throated Dippers were working up and down the stream, and after hiking down closer to the edge we all had amazing views of this top target species. On our way back to dinner, we made one final brief stop at Dique la Angostura, which produced a few more new species like Coscoroba Swan and Cinnamon Teal. Then it was back to Tafi del Valle for another lovely dinner.

The Rufous-throated Dipper was a true star of the tour!

 

Day 4, 13th October 2022. Monte Desert birding

We packed up our things and headed up and through the Infiernillo Pass to begin the day. Along our early morning drive, we spotted an Andean Tinamou along the side of the road. Surprisingly, it allowed us to stop and get a view before flushing off into the grass. Not much further up the road, an Ornate Tinamou scurried across, and we all managed a view of it as well. Two tinamou species in about 20 min! After cresting the pass, we began our descent and journey towards Cafayate, with multiple stops and targets planned along the way in the Calchaqui Valley. At our first quick stop we scored many firsts for the trip, including Greenish Yellow Finch, Rufous-banded Miner, Burrowing Parrot, Creamy-breasted Canastero and Giant Hummingbird. At our next stop we had great success with the top target, Steinbach’s Canastero, plus we ticked Rufous-sided Warbling Finch and Yellow-billed Tit-Tyrant. We made such great time with the targets in the valley that we decided to bird a little in the Monte Desert. While it is never easy birding desert habitats, we persevered and scored the endemic White-throated Cacholote, along with the endemic breeder Black-crowned Monjita.

We headed back to the town of Amaicha for lunch and managed to pick up new birds for the trip. We shared our lunch with Ringed Warbling Finch, Greyish Baywing, Patagonian and White-banded Mockingbirds and Blue-and-yellow Tanager. After some very welcome ice cream, we continued through the desert and made a quick stop along the Santa Maria River, picking up several new species such as Baird’s Sandpiper, Cliff Flycatcher and Andean Swift. For our final activity of the day, we visited the fascinating Quilmes Ruins and soaked in their history. At Cafayate we enjoyed an incredible dinner, many laughs, and lots of fun!

Moreno’s Ground Dove was one of several endemics we saw at the beginning of the trip.

 

Day 5, 14th October 2022. Valley of Cafayate and more Monte Desert

The morning was spent exploring the valley of Cafayate with one major target in mind. Our first few stops, and searches proved unsuccessful, however, we did enjoy other species like Glittering-bellied Emerald, Chaco Earthcreeper, Greater Wagtail-Tyrant, Great Pampa Finch and Grey-hooded Sierra Finch. At our third or maybe fourth location, we spread out, searching the sandy and rocky soil until finally we heard what we were after, Sandy Gallito! This little roadrunner-like bird was amazing to watch as it sprinted from bush to bush, making its loud calls. This was a fantastic success after so much effort and searching.

We went for lunch, where we were greeted by a Variable Oriole attempting to nest in a structure attached to the building. After our tasty empanada lunch, followed by something sweet from the store, we looked around the grounds and were surprised by just how birdy the yard and surrounding woods were. We spent the next hour and a half exploring the area and tallying an impressive list of 35 species from just this lunch stop! Many new species were added to our trip list like Chaco Chachalaca, Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant, Tropical Parula, White-bellied Tyrannulet, Red Pileated Finch, Ultramarine Grosbeak and Black-capped Warbling Finch. After this we continued our drive towards the hotel in Coronel Moldes, making one last stop at a nice body of water along the road. Species included Blue-crowned Parakeet, Tawny-headed Swallow, Red-fronted Coot, Coscoroba Swan and White-tipped Plantcutter. Before dinner at the lodge, we sat next to the pool and enjoyed the view of the impressive lake below, while picking up Cocoi Heron, Great Grebe and Golden-billed Saltator. This was a lovely end to a very successful day.

The endemic Sandy Gallito raced across the desert floor!

 

Day 6, 15th October 2022. Cardones National Park and the Lowlands of North Moldes

We began our day with breakfast outside on the patio, while enjoying the spectacular view. Of course, we had a few avian guests wanting to share our breakfast, including Saffron and Red Pileated Finches, Golden-billed Saltator, Shiny Cowbird, Chiguanco Thrush and Black-capped Warbling Finch. As we were loading up the van, a small group of Cliff Flycatchers put on a nice display for us. While driving, we spotted a pair of Black-legged Seriema out in a distant field! We all shuffled out and enjoyed some nice scope views of these strange birds. During our observation, a White-barred Piculet dropped in nearby and a pair of Muscovy Ducks flew by. We were happy to get a few more good birds to add to our trip list! The remainder of the afternoon was spent enjoying the beauty of Cardones National Park and surrounds.

Upon entering the lowlands, we noted several new species for the trip, like Buff-necked Ibis and Yungas Guan. We continued to the mid and upper elevations and walked slowly along the side of the road, looking for our top targets of the day. Although, things were slow in terms of numbers, we managed to find our first target relatively quickly. A pair of the very localized Rufous-bellied Mountain Tanagers perched up nicely for all of us to get good views, before disappearing. Along this stretch we also noted Tufted Tit-Tyrant, White-browed Ground-Tyrant and the endemic Tucuman Mountain Finch. Further up the road we picked up our next big target, Maquis Canastero, along with Rock Earthcreeper and Cream-winged Cinclodes. We continued to climb in altitude and spotted our first iconic mammal of the trip, the Guanaco. The wind was picking up and so birding was slow, but we enjoyed the stellar views. We made it through to the Tin-Tin Straight, where we enjoyed lunch before heading back down and out of the park. On our way out, we stopped for coffee and found a White-winged Black-Tyrant displaying nearby. It was hilarious watching this funny bird jump up and down on top of a very tall cactus. We continued our journey to Salta and enjoyed a lovely evening exploring the culture and food of this fantastic city.

 

Day 7, 16th October 2022. Palomitas and intro to Calilegua National Park

After breakfast, we headed out to do some birding near the tiny town of Palomitas. A gravel road held many great species for us to discover. Our morning walk began with numerous highlights, including Spot-backed Puffbird, Many-colored Chaco Finch, Checkered Woodpecker and Stripe-crowned Spinetail. As we continued along, a gorgeous adult Crane Hawk was perched in the distance and gave us some lovely views before flying off. A nice open area looked great for one of our targets. We played some calls and three Red-legged Seriemas sprinted towards the van from out of the tall grasses! They looked just like velociraptors from a Jurassic Park film! They called back and circled the van as if they were closing in on their prey! It was an amazing and unforgettable experience. On our way back, we spotted a family group of about a dozen Guira Cuckoos flying about from tree to tree. Another spectacular showing!

This Spot-backed Puffbird put on a nice show for us.

 

A two-hour drive to San Martin for lunch and a little rest was followed by some afternoon birding. We met up with our local guide for the area and headed into Calilegua National Park for our first taste of birding the amazing forests. We started in the lowlands and right away were onto some Scaly-headed Parrots and Green-cheeked Parakeets. A few of the bizarre looking Plush-crested Jays were interested in us and came down for a closer look. We started onto the trail where things were a bit slow, but the quality of species were high. We noted many firsts for the trip, like the impressive Cream-backed Woodpecker and the brilliant Blue-crowned Trogon. Further along the trail were more new species, including Streaked Xenops, Buff-browed Foliage-gleaner Golden-olive Woodpecker, Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet and Yellow-olive Flatbill. On our final stretch, just before getting back to the van, we spotted two more fantastic targets, the huge Toco Toucan, and a pair of amazing Golden-collared Macaws! This was certainly a fine introduction to the wonders of this national park.

 

Day 8, 17th October 2022. Mid-Lowland Forests of Calilegua National Park

We had the full day to explore and bird Calilegua National Park. We started off in the mid-elevations of the parks and worked our way down from there. Things started off strong with many fantastic species like Crested Oropendola, Two-banded Warbler, Piratic Flycatcher, Rusty Flowerpiercer, Ochre-faced Tody-Flycatcher, Yungas Manakin, Azara’s Spinetail and Sparkling Violetear. As we moved down along the road, we slowly picked up more and more species in the dense brush and growth. Highlights included Orange-headed Tanager, White-bellied and Speckled Hummingbirds, Dot-fronted Woodpecker, Slaty and Highland Elaenias, Andean Slaty Thrush and White-browed Brushfinch. After this four-hour birding session of the mid-elevations, we loaded back into the van and headed towards lunch. Along the way we picked up the always beautiful Roseate Spoonbill, as well as Guira Cuckoo and Southern Rough-winged Swallow.  After lunch we hit the low-elevations again, picking up serval nice species including Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Smoke-colored Pewee, Black-capped Antwren and Variable Antshrike. We headed to dinner and the hotel for the night to get some well-deserved rest.

The gigantic Cream-backed Woodpecker caused us to stop and stare.

 

Day 9, 18th October 2022. Upper Mountain Forests of Calilegua National Park

The forecast was grim for today’s adventure as we dealt with rain and heavy fog for most of the day. Despite the weather, we were determined to make the most of the day as we headed to the upper mountain forest sections of Calilegua. Right away we were treated to great looks at Fulvous-headed Brushfinch and Mountain Wren. A little further up the road we got onto a fantastic Blue-capped Puffleg foraging on the hillside. Conditions were tricky with a steady dose of mist, but we finally managed to get onto a cooperative Pale-legged Warbler, Plumbous Black-Tyrant and a soaking wet Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulet (or tyrannuwet as I liked to call it). It was now time for a break, so we headed to the charming little town of San Francisco to have lunch, get a warm drink, and dry off a bit.

As we were finishing up, the clouds and mist began to clear ever so slightly, which made for a lovely walk around the town. The outskirts were very birdy in the now cleared up weather. We managed to find Red-tailed Comet, Sclater’s Tyrannulet, Hooded Siskin, Moss-backed Sparrow and Dusky-capped Flycatcher. Towards the end of our walk, we got onto the two real stars of the afternoon, a gorgeous Toco Toucan and a stunning Black-backed Grosbeak – which was also new for the trip. We began the long journey back down the mountain and unfortunately, as we got back into the forested area, the mist and fog returned. We made one final stop in the rain on the way down and it certainly paid off, as we all managed to get looks at the localized and often difficult Speckled Nightingale-Thrush. We eventually made it back to town where we dried off and had our final dinner in San Martin.

The brilliant blue eyes of the Toco Toucan mesmerized us all.

Day 10, 19th October 2022. Dry Chaco Forest to Lozano

We headed off this morning to explore some dry Chaco habitat before making the two and a half hour journey to Lozano, where we would be staying for the next two nights. Our first stop was a bridge overlooking the San Francisco River. This forty-minute stop was full of birds and difficult to tear ourselves away from. Some highlights included White-collared Swift, Sooty Tyrannulet, Yellow-billed Cardinal, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Large Elaenia and Glittering-bellied Emerald. A Grey-cowled Wood Rail came out from the bush and began foraging around some cow pies, causing a lot of laughter. We then headed into the Chaco. This dirt road held several new targets for us. It didn’t take long before we managed fantastic views of one of these, the Red-billed Scythebill, a bird that almost doesn’t make any sense in terms of how it can exist. We also had fantastic looks at many old and new species during our time here, including Blue-tufted Starthroat, Variable Antshrike, Black-backed Water-Tyrant, Sick’s Swift and Ringed Teal. We went back to Lozano to check in, have lunch, and a little rest before doing some more afternoon and evening birding.

It was special to see range-restricted species like this Montane Forest Screech Owl.

A quick walk around the hotel grounds netted us a new species in the form of Variegated Flycatcher. We then loaded up into the van and headed for Potrero de Yala Provincial Park. Almost immediately upon entry, Diego spotted a top target, Red-faced Guan! A pair of these birds were sitting quietly in a tree, which allowed us some incredible close-up views. We continued walking along the road and picked up more species, like Brown-capped Whitestart, Mountain Wren and Moss-backed Sparrow. We continued to the section of the river where we waited for nightfall to search for nocturnal species. While we waited, we were treated to an incredible show of a Rufous-throated Dipper and then a whole family of Torrent Ducks swimming upstream together. It was one of those truly breathtaking moments. After the sun set, we began to listen and search. A few brief calls of Lyre-tailed Nightjar were heard off in the distance. Then we heard a Montane Forest Screech Owl give some calls and we managed to track it down in a tree. We got a spotlight on it briefly, although long enough for stellar views for the whole group! This extremely range-restricted species was certainly a cherry on top of an excellent day. We headed back to Lozano where we enjoyed a truly delicious dinner together.

 

Day 11, 20th October 2022. Potrero de Yala Provincial Park

We had the entire day to explore Potrero Yala Provincial Park. The weather was cool and, although there was some fog, this was manageable, and it eventually turned into a lovely day. We started out with a quick scan around one of the high-altitude lakes and saw White-backed Stilt, Yellow-billed Pintail and White-winged Coot. A Bicolored Hawk zoomed by and perched nicely for us in a nearby tree. A small group of Plain-colored Seedeaters put on a nice show and a Smoke-colored Pewee foraged around a nearby building. From the water, we walked around this huge park and picked up several nice species, including Spot-breasted Thornbird, Fulvous-headed Brushfinch and White-crested Elaenia.

This Rufous-capped Antshrike was quite accommodating for us.

 

We moved out of the bush and down to another high-altitude lake. Here we heard two different antshrike species calling in two different directions. First it was the Giant Antshrike, which despite its large size, can be incredibly difficult to spot in the understory. After some effort we all managed views of this incredible bird. Next up was the Rufous-capped Antshrike. Luckily this one was much easier and gave us some incredible views along the roadside. After scanning the lake, we picked up several nice species like Puna Ibis, Andean Gull, Neotropic Cormorant and Wattled Jacana. We headed back to town to grab some lunch before spending the remainder of the afternoon working our way down the slope. The birding slowed down from the morning, but the scenery was lovely. A highlight was an incredible pair of Cream-backed Woodpeckers that worked their way down the hill with us. Also amazing were a soaring Roadside Hawk, a striking Fawn-breasted Tanager and a clicking Golden-winged Cacique inside some dense bushes. It was then time for another spectacular dinner near our hotel in Lozano.

 

Day 12, 21st October 2022. Purmamarca to Tilcara

This was mostly a travel, rest, and cultural day, but of course there was some nice birding as well. After breakfast we made our way to the town of Purmamarca and saw The Hill of Seven Colors, one of the great wonders of Argentina! We birded on one of the trails and saw our first Brown-backed Mockingbird, along with Creamy-breasted Canastero, Greenish Yellow-Finch, Andean Swift and Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle. We then explored the town and some of the tourist shops before sitting down for lunch. While eating we were joined by a new trip bird, Black-hooded Sierra Finch, wanting the same lunch as us! After savoring the scenery for the last time, we loaded up and headed towards Tilcara and checked into our hotel. We all decided to have a break and enjoyed some time at the incredible hotel. In the late afternoon we ventured out and explored the Pucará de Tilcara, nearby pre-Inca ruins. The wind was strong, and the birds were virtually non-existent, except for a wind-blown Barn Swallow and some singing House Wrens. We headed back to the hotel and enjoyed a tasty dinner there.

These James’s Flamingos were one species seen on our triple flamingo day.

 

Day 13, 22nd October 2022. Lakes around Abra Pampa

Our schedule for the day was jam-packed, as we had a lot of driving and birding to squeeze in. We headed out hastily after breakfast and made our way to Laguna de Huancar. This small lake is located right next to a popular sand skiing slope just south of Abra Pampa. We experienced our first taste of high Puna wetland birding, with species like Giant Coot, Silvery Grebe, Andean and Crested Ducks and Puna Teal. Then we made our way into Abra Pampa and checked out some local football (soccer) fields where we quickly scored our target, Bright-rumped Yellow-Finch. It was time for a nice lunch in the town square area since it was a beautiful day for a picnic.

After lunch we had a few more bodies of water to check out. First up was a small pond just north of Abra Pampa that was full of birds. We managed fantastic views of both James’s and Chilean Flamingos along with Andean Goose, Crested Duck, White-cheeked Pintail, Wilson’s Phalarope, Andean Lapwing and Puna Ibis plus many others. The surrounding grasslands held Andean Negrito, Puna Miner and Ash-breasted Sierra Finch. We managed to dodge an interesting encounter with a cow and guaco before moving to the next location, Laguna Runtuyoc. After a brief hike, we managed to get close to the water and scored our third flamingo of the day, Andean Flamingo! We all celebrated this sweep. In addition to the flamingos, there were Inca Teal and Common Miner. We also noted our first of many Vicunas, a high-altitude llama-like mammal. It was time to move along and head even higher in altitude. As we approached Yavi, we took in the scenic views and spotted a Mountain Caracara along the roadside. We arrived at the tiny village for dinner and a good night’s sleep after the long day of travel and birding.

 

Day 14, 23rd October 2022. Yavi area birding

We headed out for a short hike right outside our lodge before breakfast. (This activity was repeated for the next three mornings.) We were at a very high altitude, about 11,320 feet (3,450 m), so we moved slower and noted the different avian assemblage. Right away we were treated to a large flock of Citron-headed Yellow-Finches, one of the top targets for this location. Mixed in with these finches were Diuca Finch, Band-tailed Seedeater, Golden-billed Saltator, Black-hooded Sierra Finch and Grey-hooded Parakeet. As we continued along the trail we spotted the other top target, Wedge-tailed Hillstar, whose green gorget glowed brilliantly in the morning sun! We hiked back up and had our breakfast and coffee before setting off again to explore more areas surrounding Yavi.

Mid-morning into early afternoon was spent hiking along a small stream that ran through the outskirts of town. We tallied up a nice list of over 30 species whilst going slowly and steadily. Top highlights from this adventure were Bare-faced Ground Dove, Giant Hummingbird, Cream-winged and White-winged Cinclodes, Streak-fronted Thornbird, Cliff Flycatcher, and Rufous-sided Warbling Finch. Just before we made it back to town, we spotted an Andean Tinamou scurrying off into the tall grasses and had a gorgeous Mountain Caracara soaring by overhead. It was time for lunch and a small rest. For the late afternoon, we headed to Yavi Chico, a small version of Yavi nearby. The top highlight here was d’Orbigny’s Chat-Tyrant, a new species for the trip, and we also enjoyed Rock Earthcreeper, Spot-winged Pigeon, and Andean Swift. It was time to head back for dinner with our hosts, who now felt like friends, Magui and her family. Another great day successfully completed.

These Citron-headed Yellow-Finches became a burst of color in the sun.

 

Day 15, 24th October 2022.  High Puna and Lizoite Vega

Like the previous morning, we started with a short hike before breakfast and saw the brilliant Citron-headed Yellow-Finch and Wedge-tailed Hillstar. If we did this every morning for a year, we would not get tired of seeing these amazing species! In addition to the typical species, we added a new trip bird in the form of Aplomado Falcon. After breakfast, we began our journey to even higher altitudes! Along the drive we saw many Vicunas plus a pair of sneaky Ornate Tinamous and an uncooperative flock of Mountain Parakeets. We eventually reached the pass of Abra de Lizoite at a staggering 14,950 feet (4,555 m), which is higher than any peak in the continental USA! Although cold and windy at these heights, the panorama was magnificent and awe-inspiring, especially when an Andean Condor soared overhead.

We descended slightly, but not much, to Lizoite Vega, a small stream running through the valley and creating some wetland-type habitat. Thankfully it didn’t take long before we were all on the top target, the Diademed Sandpiper-Plover. This was a stunning and incredible bird indeed! We continued birding here and picked up another extreme high-altitude specialist, the Red-backed Sierra Finch. After a picnic lunch, we took a short walk to explore downstream and had some incredible views of a pair of Diademed Sandpiper-Plovers working the water. While these rare plovers were the stars, we nevertheless enjoyed the other species, like Andean Flicker, Straight-billed Earthcreeper, Andean Swallow and Cinerous Ground-Tyrant. After an excellent afternoon, we made our way back to Yavi. After such high altitudes, we all needed a rest before heading out for our final dinner in the northwest provinces of Argentina.

At extremely high altitude, the Diademed Sandpiper-Plover foraged in the wet areas.

 

Day 16, 25th October 2022.  Transfer to Jujuy and flight back to Buenos Aires

We enjoyed our final walk in the high Puna area surrounding Javi and took last looks at species here, including Citron-headed Yellow-Finch, Diuca Finch, Brown-backed Mockingbird and Wedge-tailed Hillstar. After this, we had breakfast and coffee before packing our bags and beginning the long drive back to Jujuy. We made a stop for about an hour outside Abra Pampa. This small pond mostly had the same species we had seen on our first visit, but we enjoyed good views of James’s and Chilean Flamingos, Crested Duck, Andean Goose, Inca Teal, Andean Negrito, and Puna Ibis. As we stared at the water, we noticed a small songbird flying around, Band-tailed Sierra Finch, a new species for the trip! After a long drive, we caught our flight back to Buenos Aires, where we grabbed dinner and went to bed.

 

Day 17, 26th October 2022. Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve

Due to our late flight and dinner the previous night, we slept in a little this morning. After a lovely breakfast at the hotel, we grabbed our gear and headed out for some birding. The weather forecast for the day was a bit “iffy”, and because of the rain overnight, the main entrance to Costanera Sur was closed for the day. Nevertheless, we had a beautiful time outside the park, looking into the amazing ponds and wetlands. Close-up views of many species were had, including Southern Screamer, Wattled Jacana, Black-necked Swan, Silver Teal, White-winged Coot, Spot-flanked Gallinule and Rosy-billed Pochard. Then we headed to a nearby local park and picked up some nice birds, like Vermillion Flycatcher, Monk and Nanday Parakeets, Chimango Caracara, and Creamy-bellied Thrush. Towards the end of our time at the park the wind and rain started to pick up, so we headed for lunch and rested in the afternoon.

 

Day 18, 27th October 2022.  More Costanera Sur before departure

On our final day together, we decided to head back to Costanera Sur before our evening flights home. Luckily the park was open, and we got to enjoy the wonders of this gem located right in the heart of Buenos Aires. Two and a half hours later we had tallied a list of 61 species, including several new species for the trip: White-faced Whistling-Duck, Black-headed, Masked and Lake Ducks, Small-billed Elaenia, and Streaked Flycatcher. Of course, in addition to the new species added, we enjoyed our wonderful time here with other species like Masked Gnatcatcher, Rufous-bellied Thrush, Chivi Vireo, Tropical Parula, and many others. We headed back to the hotel, had lunch, and went to the airport. We discussed our favorite species for the trip, and the following were the top five for the group, in no order: Red-legged Seriema, Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, James’s Flamingo, Sandy Gallito and Torrent Duck. It was truly a splendid trip, full of birds, scenery, food, culture and laughter.

This Yellow-billed Teal gave some fantastic views at Costanera Sur.

 

Bird ListFollowing IOC (12.2)

Birds ‘heard only’ are marked with (H) after the common name, all other species were seen. Species seen only on the pre-trip day of this trip are marked with (+) after the common name.

The following notation after species names is used to show conservation status following BirdLife International: CE = Critically Endangered, EN = Endangered, VU = Vulnerable, NT = Near Threatened.

 

Common Name Scientific Name
Tinamous (Tinamidae)
Ornate Tinamou Nothoprocta ornata
Brushland Tinamou Nothoprocta cinerascens
Andean Tinamou Nothoprocta pentlandii
   
Screamers (Anhimidae)
Southern Screamer Chauna torquata
   
Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)
White-faced Whistling Duck Dendrocygna viduata
Coscoroba Swan Coscoroba coscoroba
Black-necked Swan Cygnus melancoryphus
Torrent Duck Merganetta armata
Andean Goose Chloephaga melanoptera
Muscovy Duck Cairina moschata
Brazilian Teal Amazonetta brasiliensis
Ringed Teal Callonetta leucophrys
Crested Duck Lophonetta specularioides
Puna Teal Spatula puna
Silver Teal Spatula versicolor
Red Shoveler Spatula platalea
Cinnamon Teal Spatula cyanoptera
White-cheeked Pintail Anas bahamensis
Yellow-billed Pintail Anas georgica
Yellow-billed Teal (Inca Teal) Anas flavirostris
Rosy-billed Pochard Netta peposaca
Black-headed Duck Heteronetta atricapilla
Masked Duck Nomonyx dominicus
Andean Duck Oxyura ferruginea
Lake Duck Oxyura vittata
   
Chachalacas, Curassows, Guans (Cracidae)
Chaco Chachalaca Ortalis canicollis
Red-faced Guan Penelope dabbenei
Yungas Guan Penelope bridgesi
   
Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)
Lyre-tailed Nightjar (H) Uropsalis lyra
   
Swifts (Apodidae)
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris
Sick’s Swift Chaetura meridionalis
Andean Swift Aeronautes andecolus
   
Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)
Sparkling Violetear Colibri coruscans
Speckled Hummingbird Adelomyia melanogenys
Red-tailed Comet Sappho sparganurus
Wedge-tailed Hillstar Oreotrochilus adela
Blue-capped Puffleg Eriocnemis glaucopoides
Giant Hummingbird Patagona gigas
Blue-tufted Starthroat Heliomaster furcifer
Glittering-bellied Emerald Chlorostilbon lucidus
Gilded Sapphire Hylocharis chrysura
White-bellied Hummingbird Elliotomyia chionogaster
   
Cuckoos (Cuculidae)
Guira Cuckoo Guira guira
   
Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)
Rock Dove (Introduced) Columba livia
Picazuro Pigeon Patagioenas picazuro
Spot-winged Pigeon Patagioenas maculosa
Picui Ground Dove Columbina picui
Bare-faced Ground Dove Metriopelia ceciliae
Moreno’s Ground Dove (Endemic) Metriopelia morenoi
Black-winged Ground Dove Metriopelia melanoptera
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
Eared Dove Zenaida auriculata
   
Rails, Crakes & Coots (Rallidae)
Plumbeous Rail Pardirallus sanguinolentus
Grey-cowled Wood Rail Aramides cajaneus
Giant Wood Rail Aramides ypecaha
Spot-flanked Gallinule Porphyriops melanops
Common Gallinule Gallinula galeata
Red-fronted Coot Fulica rufifrons
Giant Coot Fulica gigantea
Red-gartered Coot Fulica armillata
Andean Coot Fulica ardesiaca
White-winged Coot Fulica leucoptera
   
Limpkin (Aramidae)
Limpkin Aramus guarauna
   
Grebes (Podicipedidae)
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
White-tufted Grebe Rollandia rolland
Great Grebe Podiceps major
Silvery Grebe Podiceps occipitalis
   
Flamingos (Phoenicopteridae)
Chilean Flamingo Phoenicopterus chilensis
Andean Flamingo – VU Phoenicoparrus andinus
James’s Flamingo Phoenicoparrus jamesi
   
Stilts, Avocets (Recurvirostridae)
White-backed Stilt Himantopus melanurus
Andean Avocet Recurvirostra andina
   
Plovers (Charadriidae)
Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis
Andean Lapwing Vanellus resplendens
Diademed Sandpiper-Plover Phegornis mitchellii
   
Jacanas (Jacanidae)
Wattled Jacana Jacana jacana
   
Seedsnipes (Thinocoridae)
Grey-breasted Seedsnipe Thinocorus orbignyianus
   
Sandpipers, Snipes (Scolopacidae)
Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica
Baird’s Sandpiper Calidris bairdii
Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos
Pantanal Snipe Gallinago paraguaiae
Wilson’s Phalarope Phalaropus tricolor
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius
Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
   
Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)
Andean Gull Chroicocephalus serranus
Brown-hooded Gull Chroicocephalus maculipennis
Grey-headed Gull Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus
Snowy-crowned Tern Sterna trudeaui
   
Storks (Ciconiidae)
Maguari Stork Ciconia maguari
   
Cormorants, Shags (Phalacrocoracidae)
Neotropic Cormorant Nannopterum brasilianum
   
Ibises, Spoonbills (Threskiornithidae)
Buff-necked Ibis Theristicus caudatus
Bare-faced Ibis Phimosus infuscatus
White-faced Ibis Plegadis chihi
Puna Ibis Plegadis ridgwayi
Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja
   
Herons, Bitterns (Ardeidae)
Rufescent Tiger Heron Tigrisoma lineatum
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Western Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Cocoi Heron Ardea cocoi
Great Egret Ardea alba
Whistling Heron Syrigma sibilatrix
Snowy Egret Egretta thula
   
New World Vultures (Cathartidae)
Andean Condor – VU Vultur gryphus
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
   
Kites, Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)
Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus
Bicolored Hawk Accipiter bicolor
Long-winged Harrier Circus buffoni
Plumbeous Kite Ictinia plumbea
Snail Kite Rostrhamus sociabilis
Crane Hawk Geranospiza caerulescens
Savanna Hawk Buteogallus meridionalis
Great Black Hawk Buteogallus urubitinga
Roadside Hawk Rupornis magnirostris
Harris’s Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus
Variable Hawk Geranoaetus polyosoma
Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle Geranoaetus melanoleucus
   
Owls (Strigidae)
Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia
Yungas Screech Owl Megascops hoyi
   
Trogons (Trogonidae)
Blue-crowned Trogon Trogon curucui
   
Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)
Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata
   
Puffbirds (Bucconidae)
Chaco Puffbird Nystalus striatipectus
   
Toucans (Ramphastidae)
Toco Toucan Ramphastos toco
   
Woodpeckers (Picidae)
White-barred Piculet Picumnus cirratus
White Woodpecker Melanerpes candidus
White-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes cactorum
Dot-fronted Woodpecker Veniliornis frontalis
Checkered Woodpecker Veniliornis mixtus
Golden-olive Woodpecker Colaptes rubiginosus
Green-barred Woodpecker Colaptes melanochloros
Andean Flicker Colaptes rupicola
Cream-backed Woodpecker Campephilus leucopogon
   
Seriemas (Cariamidae)
Red-legged Seriema Cariama cristata
Black-legged Seriema Chunga burmeisteri
   
Caracaras, Falcons (Falconidae)
Mountain Caracara Phalcoboenus megalopterus
Crested Caracara Caracara plancus
Chimango Caracara Milvago chimango
American Kestrel Falco sparverius
Aplomado Falcon Falco femoralis
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
   
African & New World Parrots (Psittacidae)
Grey-hooded Parakeet Psilopsiagon aymara
Mountain Parakeet Psilopsiagon aurifrons
Monk Parakeet Myiopsitta monachus
Yellow-chevroned Parakeet Brotogeris chiriri
Scaly-headed Parrot Pionus maximiliani
Tucuman Amazon – VU Amazona tucumana
Turquoise-fronted Amazon Amazona aestiva
Maroon-bellied Parakeet Pyrrhura frontalis
Green-cheeked Parakeet Pyrrhura molinae
Burrowing Parrot Cyanoliseus patagonus
Nanday Parakeet Aratinga nenday
Golden-collared Macaw Primolius auricollis
Blue-crowned Parakeet Thectocercus acuticaudatus
Mitred Parakeet Psittacara mitratus
White-eyed Parakeet Psittacara leucophthalmus
   
Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)
Common Miner Geositta cunicularia
Puna Miner Geositta punensis
Rufous-banded Miner Geositta rufipennis
Olivaceous Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus
Red-billed Scythebill Campylorhamphus trochilirostris
Narrow-billed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes angustirostris
Streaked Xenops Xenops rutilans
Straight-billed Earthcreeper Ochetorhynchus ruficaudus
Rock Earthcreeper Ochetorhynchus andaecola
Chaco Earthcreeper Tarphonomus certhioides
Rufous Hornero Furnarius rufus
Buff-breasted Earthcreeper Upucerthia validirostris
Cream-winged Cinclodes Cinclodes albiventris
White-winged Cinclodes Cinclodes atacamensis
Buff-browed Foliage-gleaner Syndactyla rufosuperciliata
Brown-capped Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura fuliginiceps
Tufted Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura platensis
Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura aegithaloides
Rufous-fronted Thornbird Phacellodomus rufifrons
Streak-fronted Thornbird Phacellodomus striaticeps
Little Thornbird Phacellodomus sibilatrix
Spot-breasted Thornbird Phacellodomus maculipectus
Freckle-breasted Thornbird Phacellodomus striaticollis
Firewood-gatherer Anumbius annumbi
Lark-like Brushrunner Coryphistera alaudina
Rusty-vented Canastero Asthenes dorbignyi
Short-billed Canastero Asthenes baeri
Puna Canastero Asthenes sclateri
Cordilleran Canastero Asthenes modesta
Maquis Canastero Asthenes heterura
Sulphur-bearded Reedhaunter Limnoctites sulphuriferus
Stripe-crowned Spinetail Cranioleuca pyrrhophia
Steinbach’s Canastero (Endemic) Pseudasthenes steinbachi
Brown Cacholote Pseudoseisura lophotes
White-throated Cacholote (Endemic) Pseudoseisura gutturalis
Yellow-chinned Spinetail Certhiaxis cinnamomeus
Chotoy Spinetail Schoeniophylax phryganophilus
Pale-breasted Spinetail Synallaxis albescens
Sooty-fronted Spinetail Synallaxis frontalis
Azara’s Spinetail Synallaxis azarae
   
Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)
Black-capped Antwren Herpsilochmus atricapillus
Variable Antshrike Thamnophilus caerulescens
Rufous-capped Antshrike Thamnophilus ruficapillus
Giant Antshrike Batara cinerea
   
Tapaculos (Rhinocryptidae)
Sandy Gallito (Endemic) Teledromas fuscus
White-browed Tapaculo (Endemic) Scytalopus superciliaris
   
Tyrant Flycatchers, Calyptura (Tyrannidae)
Sclater’s Tyrannulet Phyllomyias sclateri
Grey Elaenia Myiopagis caniceps
Large Elaenia Elaenia spectabilis
Chilean Elaenia Elaenia chilensis
Small-billed Elaenia Elaenia parvirostris
Slaty Elaenia Elaenia strepera
Highland Elaenia Elaenia obscura
Southern Beardless Tyrannulet Camptostoma obsoletum
Suiriri Flycatcher Suiriri suiriri
White-throated Tyrannulet Mecocerculus leucophrys
Buff-banded Tyrannulet Mecocerculus hellmayri
Yellow-billed Tit-Tyrant Anairetes flavirostris
Tufted Tit-Tyrant Anairetes parulus
Sooty Tyrannulet Serpophaga nigricans
White-crested Tyrannulet Serpophaga subcristata
White-bellied Tyrannulet Serpophaga munda
Warbling Doradito Pseudocolopteryx flaviventris
Fulvous-crowned Scrub Tyrant Euscarthmus meloryphus
Greater Wagtail-Tyrant Stigmatura budytoides
Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulet Phylloscartes ventralis
Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus margaritaceiventer
Ochre-faced Tody-Flycatcher Poecilotriccus plumbeiceps
Yellow-olive Flatbill Tolmomyias sulphurescens
Cliff Flycatcher Hirundinea ferruginea
Euler’s Flycatcher Lathrotriccus euleri
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
Smoke-colored Pewee Contopus fumigatus
Scarlet Flycatcher (Vermilion) Pyrocephalus rubinus
Yellow-browed Tyrant Satrapa icterophrys
Cinereous Ground Tyrant Muscisaxicola cinereus
White-browed Ground-Tyrant Muscisaxicola albilora
Andean Negrito Lessonia oreas
Spectacled Tyrant Hymenops perspicillatus
Plumbeous Tyrant Knipolegus cabanisi
White-winged Black Tyrant Knipolegus aterrimus
White Monjita Xolmis irupero
Black-crowned Monjita Neoxolmis coronatus
Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant Agriornis montanus
Black-backed Water Tyrant Fluvicola albiventer
D’Orbigny’s Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca oenanthoides
White-browed Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca leucophrys
Cattle Tyrant Machetornis rixosa
Piratic Flycatcher Legatus leucophaius
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus
Variegated Flycatcher Empidonomus varius
Crowned Slaty Flycatcher Griseotyrannus aurantioatrocristatus
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Fork-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus savana
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer
   
Cotingas (Cotingidae)
White-tipped Plantcutter Phytotoma rutila
   
Manakins (Pipridae)
Yungas Manakin Chiroxiphia boliviana
   
Tityras, Becards, Sharpbill (Tityridae)
White-naped Xenopsaris Xenopsaris albinucha
   
Vireos, Greenlets, Shrike-babblers (Vireonidae)
Chivi Vireo Vireo chivi
   
Crows, Jays (Corvidae)
Plush-crested Jay Cyanocorax chrysops
   
Swallows, Martins (Hirundinidae)
White-rumped Swallow Tachycineta leucorrhoa
Blue-and-white Swallow Pygochelidon cyanoleuca
Tawny-headed Swallow Alopochelidon fucata
Andean Swallow Orochelidon andecola
Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis
Brown-chested Martin Progne tapera
Southern Martin Progne elegans
Grey-breasted Martin Progne chalybea
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
American Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
   
Wrens (Troglodytidae)
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
Mountain Wren Troglodytes solstitialis
   
Gnatcatchers (Polioptilidae)
Masked Gnatcatcher Polioptila dumicola
   
Mockingbirds, Thrashers (Mimidae)
Chalk-browed Mockingbird Mimus saturninus
Patagonian Mockingbird Mimus patagonicus
White-banded Mockingbird Mimus triurus
Brown-backed Mockingbird Mimus dorsalis
   
Starlings, Rhabdornis (Sturnidae)
Common Starling (Introduced) Sturnus vulgaris
   
Thrushes (Turdidae)
Speckled Nightingale-Thrush Catharus maculatus
Swainson’s Thrush Catharus ustulatus
Chiguanco Thrush Turdus chiguanco
Andean Slaty Thrush Turdus nigriceps
Creamy-bellied Thrush Turdus amaurochalinus
Rufous-bellied Thrush Turdus rufiventris
   
Dippers (Cinclidae)
Rufous-throated Dipper – VU Cinclus schulzii
   
Old World Sparrows, Snowfinches (Passeridae)
House Sparrow (Introduced) Passer domesticus
   
Wagtails, Pipits (Motacillidae)
Hellmayr’s Pipit Anthus hellmayri
   
Finches, Euphonias (Fringillidae)
Hooded Siskin Spinus magellanicus
Black Siskin Spinus atratus
   
New World Sparrows (Passerellidae)
Common Bush Tanager Chlorospingus flavopectus
White-browed Brushfinch Arremon torquatus
Moss-backed Sparrow Arremon dorbignii
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis
Fulvous-headed Brushfinch Atlapetes fulviceps
Yellow-striped Brushfinch (Endemic) Atlapetes citrinellus
   
Oropendolas, Orioles, Blackbirds (Icteridae)
Crested Oropendola Psarocolius decumanus
Golden-winged Cacique Cacicus chrysopterus
Variable Oriole Icterus pyrrhopterus
Screaming Cowbird Molothrus rufoaxillaris
Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis
Scarlet-headed Blackbird Amblyramphus holosericeus
Greyish Baywing Agelaioides badius
Chestnut-capped Blackbird Chrysomus ruficapillus
Yellow-winged Blackbird Agelasticus thilius
Brown-and-yellow Marshbird Pseudoleistes virescens
   
New World Warblers (Parulidae)
Southern Yellowthroat Geothlypis velata
Tropical Parula Setophaga pitiayumi
Pale-legged Warbler Myiothlypis signata
Two-banded Warbler Myiothlypis bivittata
Golden-crowned Warbler Basileuterus culicivorus
Brown-capped Whitestart Myioborus brunniceps
   
Cardinals & Allies (Cardinalidae)
Red Tanager (Hepatic) Piranga flava
Black-backed Grosbeak Pheucticus aureoventris
Ultramarine Grosbeak Cyanoloxia brissonii
   
Tanagers & Allies (Thraupidae)
Pampa Finch Embernagra platensis
Mourning Sierra Finch Rhopospina fruticeti
Band-tailed Sierra Finch Porphyrospiza alaudina
Many-colored Chaco Finch Saltatricula multicolor
Blue-grey Saltator Saltator coerulescens
Golden-billed Saltator Saltator aurantiirostris
Red Pileated Finch Coryphospingus cucullatus
Black-and-rufous Warbling Finch Poospiza nigrorufa
Tucuman Mountain Finch (Endemic) – VU Poospiza baeri
Orange-headed Tanager Thlypopsis sordida
Rufous-sided Warbling Finch Poospizopsis hypocondria
Rusty-browed Warbling Finch Microspingus erythrophrys
Ringed Warbling Finch Microspingus torquatus
Black-capped Warbling Finch Microspingus melanoleucus
Bright-rumped Yellow Finch Sicalis uropigyalis
Saffron Finch Sicalis flaveola
Grassland Yellow Finch Sicalis luteola
Citron-headed Yellow Finch Sicalis luteocephala
Greenish Yellow Finch Sicalis olivascens
Grey-hooded Sierra Finch Phrygilus gayi
Black-hooded Sierra Finch Phrygilus atriceps
Ash-breasted Sierra Finch Geospizopsis plebejus
Plumbeous Sierra Finch Geospizopsis unicolor
Red-backed Sierra Finch Idiopsar dorsalis
Band-tailed Seedeater Catamenia analis
Plain-colored Seedeater Catamenia inornata
Rusty Flowerpiercer Diglossa sittoides
Fawn-breasted Tanager Pipraeidea melanonota
Blue-and-yellow Tanager Rauenia bonariensis
Rufous-bellied Mountain Tanager Pseudosaltator rufiventris
Diuca Finch Diuca diuca
Red-crested Cardinal Paroaria coronata
Yellow-billed Cardinal Paroaria capitata
Sayaca Tanager Thraupis sayaca
   
Total Seen 345
Total Heard 1
Total Recorded 346

 

Mammal List

Common Name Scientific Name
Rabbits and Hares (Leporidae)
European Hare Lepus europaeus
   
Cavy (Caviidae)
Southern Mountain Cavy Microcavia australis
   
Agouti (Dasyproctidae)
Brown Agouti – DD Dasyprocta variegata
   
Chinchilla and Allies (Chinchillidae)
Southern Mountain Viscacha Lagidium viscacia
   
Neotropical Spiny Rats (Echimyidae)
Coypu Myocastor coypus
   
Capuchin and Squirrel Monkeys (Cebidae)
Azaras’s Capuchin Sapajus cay
   
Dogs (Canidae)
South American Grey Fox Lycalopex griseus
   
Camels and Allies (Camelidae)
Guanaco Lama guanicoe
Vicuna Lama vicugna
   
True Deer (Cervidae)
Gray Brocket Mazama gouazoubira
   
Total Recorded 10

 

DOWNLOAD TRIP REPORT

This is a sample trip report. Please email us ([email protected]) for more trip reports from this destination.

NORTHWEST ARGENTINA: YUNGAS, CHACO AND HIGH ANDES BIRDING TOUR: TOUR-SPECIFIC INFORMATION

 

PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR GENERAL INFORMATION PERTAINING TO OUR ARGENTINA TOURS IN GENERAL

 

This birding trip is an amazing adventure that will allow you to explore the fantastic variety of habitats of northwestern Argentina. From the wetlands of Buenos Aires, where you should get acquainted with the likes of Spectacled Tyrant, Curve-billed and Straight-billed Reedhaunters, through to the dry desert of the vast Chaco where we will look for specials such as Black-bodied Woodpecker and Black-legged Seriema. We will then see a drastic change in scenery as we visit the lush Yungas or humid montane forest in the Calilegua National Park and the Tucumán forest, looking for incredible birds such as Rufous-throated Dipper, Red-faced Guan, Black-and-chestnut Eagle, White-throated Antpitta, and Golden-collared Macaw. We will end this adventure in the high Andes of the Argentinean altiplano near the Bolivian border, where we will enjoy stunning high-altitude scenery and hopefully find desirable species such as Lesser Rhea, Horned Coot, Puna Tinamou, Diademed Sandpiper-Plover and many more. This tour, together with our central Peru tour, provides perhaps the finest quality Andean birding of any of our tours. The following information will help you prepare for your trip.

 

ARRIVAL INFORMATION

Please e-mail us ([email protected]) before you book any flights, as the information shown here is just an initial guide. Our tour will start in Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina. You can reach Buenos Aires’ Ministro Pistarini International Airport, better known as Ezeiza Airport (EZE), by flights from most major hubs around the world. You might wish to consult your travel agent to book your most convenient flight (and contact us if you would like any guidance). Our representatives will be waiting for you at Buenos Aires airport with a Birding Ecotours sign board and will then transfer you to your hotel. Please remember to keep your luggage tags, as they are required to exit the terminal building at the Buenos Aires airport. Please be aware that most international flights arrive in Buenos Aires around midday, so we don’t have any birding activities planned for the first day. In case you arrive on an early flight, you will be transferred to the hotel but may have to wait until check-in is available. For an early check-in you might be charged extra by the hotel; this cost is not included in the Birding Ecotours tour price.

When filling out the customs declaration form, if an address in Argentina is required, you can use the hotel address below:

Hotel Pestana, Carlos Pellegrini, 877 C1009ABQ, Buenos Aires, Tel: +351 218 442 001.

 

DEPARTURE INFORMATION

Our tour will end in Buenos Aires after a wonderful 17 days in Argentina. After the final morning’s birding, your tour leader and/or tour representatives will transfer you to the Ezeiza Airport from where you can take your international flights home.

 

DOMESTIC FLIGHT INFORMATION

There are two domestic flights on this trip, covering the Buenos Aires-Tucumán and Jujuy-Buenos Aires legs. These flights are not included in the Birding Ecotours tour price. Please take note that luggage allowance is 33 Ib (15 kg) as checked luggage and 18 Ib (8 kg) as hand luggage. After booking your tour, we will be in touch to advise which flights to book.

 

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS AND PACE

We grade this trip as easy to moderate with most of the birding consisting of walking along roads and birding near to the vehicle. We will walk no more than 2.5 miles (4 km) per day and the vehicle will remain near to us, as much as possible.

Please note that (as is usual on our birding trips) we need to be awake very early in the mornings, and pre-dawn starts are in order almost every day. We normally spend the whole morning birding in the field, return to the lodge for lunch (followed by some rest), before continuing our birding in the afternoon. In some cases, particularly in remote areas, we will take picnic lunches along with us. When we have birding stops while traveling from location to location, people who feel tired do not have to follow the group and can remain in the vehicle.

Argentina is a big country, the second largest in South America, and as such this tour includes some long drives with much climbing in and out of the vehicle when we find interesting birds or suitable habitat en route.  A positive of these long drives is that they will allow us to enjoy the amazing scenery and maximize our chances for unexpected birds along the route.

We think this trip might be difficult for people who battle with high elevations or who have back, walking, or balance problems. If you feel motion sickness, we ask you to bring your own medication. Furthermore, if you are not used to birding trips with early starts every morning, you may find this tour tiring.

 

ATM MACHINES

ATM machines are available in Buenos Aires, Cafayate, Callilegua, and Tilcara. We recommend drawing money from ATMs or exchanging money at the bureau de change in the Buenos Aires airport upon arrival. Local currency may be difficult to obtain while on tour and may eat into our birding time and so we highly recommend sorting this out while at the airport.

 

ALTITUDE

Our tour starts in the lowlands and then gradually gains in altitude; this steady increase in altitude will give your body time to adapt to high altitude conditions. Please note that we will drive across some mountain passes above 13,450 feet (4,100 meters), with our highest overnight point being in Yavi, at 11,500 feet (3,500 meters). We will always have a vehicle near us while we bird at these altitudes which will help reduce fatigue.

Spending a few hours at high elevation is not normally a problem, however some minor symptoms might appear, such as a slight headache and mild dizziness. A regular Paracetamol tablet, taken two hours before we reach high elevations, often prevents any headache trouble. We suggest you avoid eating a large dinner on the previous night (before visiting high altitudes) which will aid with easier digestion.

 

WEATHER

We ask you to be ready for all kinds of weather during this trip. The range of habitats and altitude that we will pass through will mean we will also encounter a diverse array of weather conditions. In general, the weather will be subtropical (we will in fact cross the Tropic of Capricorn on the tour), but in the heights of the Andes it can be very cold, especially at night and in the early mornings. The eastern lowlands are usually warm and can even be hot in the winter. The Puna and high Andes can reach warm temperatures during the day, but at night, the temperatures decrease drastically; sometimes to below freezing. While birding some of the high Andean peaks, there is even the possibility of snowfall. October and November are still part of the “dry season” and therefore we should expect very little rain; any rainfall that we experience will likely be in the Yungas or cloud forest. Conversely, the Chaco is likely to be hot and dry.

Sometimes cold fronts from Antarctica can blow towards southern South America and as a result we might get unexpected cold winds reaching southern Argentina and Buenos Aires city for a couple of days when temperatures may drop to as low as 34 °F (1 °C).

 

PACKING FOR THE TRIP

Due to the complex weather conditions described above, packing clothing for this trip can be difficult. We recommend you take with you a good amount of light clothing (long-sleeved shirts and long pants to avoid insect bites), a light coat for the nights in the lowlands, while for the highlands, a warmer coat and a good sweater are recommended, a scarf and woolly gloves are also suggested. It is also essential to bring closed shoes (two pairs if possible), a raincoat (“ponchos” are quite useful) and a good hat. Along with that, you should bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and insect repellent, as mosquitoes, biting flies and ticks are a possibility on the trip, especially in the cloud forests and at lower altitudes. Please see here for a list of what we recommend you bring.

 

LAUNDRY

Laundry is available almost everywhere but we suggest you try to get laundry done in those locations where we will stay for more than one night, such as in Buenos Aires, Tafí del Valle, Calilegua, Yala and Yavi. Laundry fees are not included in the tour price.

 

ACCOMMODATION

We will provide you with a list of hotels and emergency phone numbers before the start of the tour.

 

TRANSPORT

We will have a private van for the whole tour with plenty of room for everybody.

Birding Ecotours

Argentina General Information

Download Northwest Argentina: Yungas, Chaco and High Andes Birding Tour Information

‘My trip to Argentina was amazing! We always see huge numbers of species on Birding Ecotours trips, and this one was no exception. Add to that the scenery in the Andes, among the most spectacular anywhere; meanwhile, accommodations, arrangements, and guiding were fully up to Birding Ecotours’ usual standards. Eduardo is a great guide, always watching out for our welfare as well as finding the birds, and Diego was one of the more knowledgeable – and friendly – local guides we have had in years. As my trip focused on the northwest, I look forward to visiting the rest of this wonderful country soon.’

Bill

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