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Where To Go Birdwatching in Chile And Species to Spot
birdwatching chile

Where To Go Birdwatching in Chile And Species to Spot

Australis

With 493 species of birds, including 12 endemic to the country and 35 species that are globally threatened, Chile is an exciting place for birders. And with tour agencies running trips for those keen to go birdwatching in Chile, there are plenty of opportunities to catch a glimpse of even the country’s rarest species. Here’s our guide to places to visit and species that you can hope to spot in each.  

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Birdwatching in Chile in the north

Lauca National Park

At the far northern edge of Chile and on the border with Bolivia lies Lauca National Park, a protected area in the altiplano that is ringed by volcanoes. With over 140 species of birds found in the park, it’s considered one of the best places to go birdwatching in Chile.

Species:

  • Andean condors
  • Sandpiper plovers
  • Seedsnipe
  • Puna ibis
  • Puna tinamou
  • Chilean flamingo

 

Birdwatching in Chile in the Central Valley

Around Santiago

From the capital city, it’s a short drive into the Andes Mountains, where plenty of high altitude inhabiting bird species await. If you’re as keen on beautiful views as you are on birdwatching, you’ll also enjoy the vistas from this vantage point over the city, as well as those across the snow-dusted peaks of this lofty mountain chain.

Species:

  • Greater yellow finch
  • Rufous banded miner
  • White sided hillstar
  • Andean condors
  • Variable hawk
  • Black chested buzzard eagle
  • Mountain caracara
  • Moustached turca (e) (“e” indicates an endemic species)
  • Dusky tapaculos (e)
  • Dusky-tailed canastero (e)
  • Crag chilia (e)

Along the central Chilean coast

birdwatching chileWith its 2,650-mile (4,270km) coastline, it should come as no surprise that Chile has a wealth of seabirds and one of the most accessible stretches of the Pacific coast to see them is along the beaches and marshland within reach of Valparaíso. This harborside city is located only an hour and a half’s drive from the capital.

Species:

  • Many-coloured rush tyrant
  • Black-headed duck
  • Warbling doradito
  • Cocoi heron
  • Black-necked swan
  • Guanay cormorant
  • Red-legged cormorant
  • Peruvian booby
  • Grey gull
  • Inca tern
  • Seaside cinclodes (e)

 

Birdwatching in Chile around the Lakes Region

Puerto Varas and beyond

A scattering of conical volcanoes, verdant Valdivian Temperate Rainforest and shimmering lakes provide the ideal habitats for a huge selection of birds in the Lakes Region around Puerto Varas.

Species:

  • Magellanic tapaculo
  • Ochre-flanked tapaculo
  • Magellanic woodpecker
  • Chilean flicker
  • Many-colored rushbird
  • Patagonia rock cormorant
  • Flightless steamer duck

Chiloé Island

Off the coast of the Carretera Austral and a short distance from Puerto Montt, the main transport hub of the Lakes Region, Chiloé Island is rich in birdlife, with an estimated 147 different species inhabiting this island alone. Again, Chiloé is home to great stretches of Valdivian Temperate Rainforest, a rare ecoregion that also provides shelter for endangered mammals, such as the pudú, the world’s smallest deer.

Species:

  • Pincoya storm petrel
  • Plumbeous rail
  • Flightless steamer duck
  • Oystercatcher
  • Green-backed firecrown hummingbird
  • Giant hummingbird
  • Thorn-tailed rayadito
  • Slender-billed parakeet
  • Humboldt penguin
  • Magellanic penguin

 

Birdwatching in Chilean Patagonia

Torres del Paine National Park

birdwatching chileBetter known as one of the globe’s top destinations for hiking, Torres del Paine National Park is also a twitcher’s paradise and commonly features on birdwatching tours of Patagonia.

  • Andean condor
  • Magellanic woodpecker
  • Chilean flicker
  • Striped woodpecker
  • White-tufted grebe
  • Silvery grebe
  • Chimango caracaras
  • Black-chested buzzard eagle
  • Austral pygmy owl
  • Spectacled duck
  • Austral rail
  • Magellanic penguin

Tierra del Fuego

Across the Strait of Magellan, the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego has an even more fascinating range of birds to discover and is easily accessible from the region’s hub, Punta Arenas or directly from Ushuaia, the city on the Argentine side of Isla Grande.

Species:

  • King penguin
  • Magellanic plover
  • Wilson’s phalarope
  • White-rumped sandpiper
  • Chilean flamingo
  • Upland goose
  • Coscoroba swan
  • Ruddy-headed goose
  • Peregrine falcon
  • Rhea

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