Birding Chile

Introduction

We will travel through diverse ecosystems and habitats from the Atacama Desert to Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, including the impressive Altiplano, the dramatic Andes and Precordillera, Central Valley, Coastal Range, Sclerophyllous Forest and Matorral (Chilean Savannah), dense Temperate forests, Valdivian Rain forest, the windswept Nothofagus forest, the amazing Patagonian steppe, swamps, lakes, lagoons, seashore and the vast marine coast, including a Pelagic trip into the cold waters of the Humboldt Current (one of the most productive marine ecosystems on Earth). We´ll try to find as many species as possible, focused mainly on the endemics and all the Chilean specialties.

Highlights:

- Contrasting environments ranging from the Atacama Desert to the Temperate Rainforest and from the high Andes to the Humboldt Current.

- La Campana and Lauca National Parks, both UNESCO Biosphere Reserves.

- World famous Torres del Paine National Park.

- Chilean endemics, including: Chilean Tinamou, Slender-billed Parakeet, Chilean Woodstar, Seaside Cinclodes, Crag Chilia, Dusky-tailed Canastero, Moustached Turca, Chestnut-throated Huet-Huet, White-throated Tapaculo, Dusky Tapaculo and Chilean Mockingbird.

- Bird specialties: Humboldt Penguin, Pink-footed Shearwater, Red-legged Cormorant, Ashy-headed Goose, Torrent Duck, Puna Flamingo, Andean Condor, Rufous-tailed Hawk, Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, Rufous-chested Dotterel, Grey Gull, Inca Tern, Grey-breasted Seedsnipe, Giant Hummingbird, Green-backed Firecrown, Magellanic Woodpecker, Mountain Parakeet, Austral Parakeet, Wren-like Rushbird, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, White-throated Treerunner, Des Mur´s Wiretail, Black-thoated Huet-Huet, Chucao Tapaculo, Ochre-flanked Tapaculo, Great Shrike-Tyrant, Many-coloured Rush Tyrant, Spectacled Tyrant, Rufous-tailed Plantcutter, Slender-billed Finch, Greater Yellow Finch, Tamarugo Conebill and Thick-billed Siskin, among others.

- Mammals like: Big Hairy Armadillo, Peruvian Viscacha, Common Degu, Master Leaf-eared Mouse, Puma, Culpeo Fox, Marine Otter, South American Sea Lion, Guanaco, Vicuña, Andean Deer, Southern Pudu, Commerson´s & Peale´s Dolphin, among others.

Departures

From October to March.

11 Days: Northern & Central Chile

15 Days: Northern, Central & Southern Chile

21 Days: Northern, Central & Southern Chile + Patagonia

Price

2900 to 6.900 US Dollars, per person. Varies according to the number of people/days. Includes Private ground transportation, lodging, all meals, Pelagic Trips (off Arica and Quintero, including 5-hour pelagic trip to the Humboldt Current, chum for the birds, birding guide, water and snack for each birder), ferry rides (Pargua-Chiloe-Pargua & Punta Arenas-Tierra del Fuego-Punta Delgada), entrance fees to parks and Birding Guide (+ all guide fees). Domestic Flights not included, but can be arranged.

Meet and depart

Santiago.

Dates:

From Fri Mar 05,2021 To Fri Mar 19,2021

DAY 1: Meet and Flight from Santiago to Arica.

Today we fly from Santiago to Arica. Upan arrival we go birding Lluta River Mouth looking for main targets like: Band-tailed Gull, Elegant Tern, West Peruvian Dove, Croaking Ground Dove, Vermilion FlycatcherCinereous Conebill, Peruvian Meadowlark, Chestnut-throated Seedeater, Hooded Siskin and Slender-billed Finch, among many others. Night in Arica.

DAY 2: Pelagic Trip off Arica and transfer to Putre

Pelagic trip to the Humboldt Current. A 5 hours pelagic trip searching for Markham´s Storm-Petrel, Elliot's Storm-Petrel, Pink-footed Shearwater, Peruvian Diving-Petrel, Humboldt Penguin, Peruvian Booby, Guanay Cormorant, Red-legged Cormorant, Grey Gull and Inca Tern, among others. Then, we drive east and investigate the rich valleys of Lluta for Peruvian Thick-knee, Andean Ibis, Croaking Ground-Dove, Peruvian Pygmy Owl, Andean Swift, Peruvian Sheartail, Oasis Hummingbird, Grayish Miner, Bran-colored Flycatcher, Peruvian (White-crested) Elaenia, Groove-billed Ani, Blue-black Grassquit and Chestnut-throated Seedeater. Drive to the Pre-puna zone. Night at Putre (3.500 m / 14.000 ft.).

DAY 3: Putre & Socoroma

Today we bird in the area of Putre and Socoroma, looking for Ornate Tinamou, Spot-winged Pigeon, Bare-faced Ground-Dove, Andean Hillstar, Sparkling Violetear, Mountain Parakeet, White-throated Earthcreeper, Straight-billed Earthcreeper, Cream-winged Cinclodes, Black-throated Flowerpiercer, Golden-billed Saltator, Blue-and-Yellow Tanager, Canyon Canastero, White-browed & D'Orbigny's Chat-Tyrant, Chiguanco Thrush, Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch and Band-tailed Seedeater, among others. Night at Putre.

DAY 4: Lauca National Park & Altiplano

Today we´ll visit the amazing Lauca National Park (UNESCO Biosphere Reserve) with breathtaking views of Paranicota 6.319 m (20.731 ft) & Pomerape 6.248 m (20.498 ft) Volcanos and the famous Chungara Lake. We’ll l bird at heights between 4.200 m (13.779 ft) and 4.600 m (15.091 ft) looking for high altitude birds such as Giant Coot, Andean Coot, Andean Lapwing, Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, Puna Tinamou, Puna Rhea, Andean Silvery Grebe, Puna Ibis, Andean Goose, Puna Teal, Puna Plover, Andean Avocet, Chilean Flamingo, Andean Flamingo, Puna Flamingo, Mountain Caracara, Andean Gull, Andean Flicker, Puna Miner, Puna Ground-Tyrant, White-fronted Ground-Tyrant, Andean Negrito, White-tailed Shrike-Tyrant, Giant Conebill, White-winged Diuca-Finch, Black-hooded Sierra-Finch and Black Siskin. Back to Putre. Night in Putre.

DAY 5: Back to Arica

This morning we leave the high altitudes and drive back to Arica. On the way back we´ll make several stops looking for species not yet located, to later visit Azapa and Chaca Valleys looking for the breeding endemic and very elusive Tamarugo Conebill and the endemic (and sadly critically endangered) Chilean Woodstar. Before dinner, we´ll focus on the endemic Seaside Cinclodes + the chance to see the uncommon Marine Otter (the smallest marine mammal in the world). Night in Arica.

DAY 6: Flight to Santiago and into Maipo Valley

Time permitting, we spend the morning looking for species not yet located. Flight to Santiago. From the airport we drive southeast for almost 2 hours and we´ll arrive at our delightful lodging in the Maipo Valley, where we settle into our accommodations and spend the rest of the day becoming familiar with species at this altitude. Night in Maipo Valley.

DAY 7: Birding the Central Chilean Andes

Today we drive deep into the Andes, the largest mountain range in the world, we are going to be at heights above 2.500 m (8.200 ft), and enjoy scenery with peaks reaching more than 6.000 m (19.700 ft). We´ll focus on Andean Condor, the “Spirit of the Andes”, as well as the endemic Crag Chilia and the extraordinary Diademed Sandpiper-Plover. In addition, we´ll search for species that only live in this ecosystem, among them Andean Goose, Crested & Torrent Ducks, Black-chested Buzzard Eagle, Variable Hawk, Mountain Caracara, Grey-breasted Seedsnipe, White-sided Hillstar, Black-winged Ground-Dove, White-browed, Black-fronted & Ochre-naped Ground-Tyrants, Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant, Rufous-banded & Creamy-rumped Miners, Grey-flanked & Creamy-winged Cinclodes, Cordilleran Canastero, Scale-throated Earthcreeper, Gray-hooded & Plumbeous Sierra-Finches, Greater Yellow Finch, Thick-billed & Yellow-rumped Siskins, among others. Night in Maipo Valley.

DAY 8: Birding the Andes and to the coast

Today we´ll try for Andean specialties not yet seen. Drive to the coast. Night in Viña del Mar.

DAY 9: Coastal Mountain Range

We start early and drive east into the heart of the Coastal Mountain Range, with peaks above 2-000 m (6500 ft) and we search for endemics such as Chilean Tinamou, Chilean Mockingbird, Moustached Turca, White-throated Tapaculo and Dusky-tailed Canastero. We intend to visit La Campana National Park (Ocoa area), which was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. This park has a varied native flora composed of Mediterranean Forest. It is particularly rich in birds, including Variable Hawk, Black-chested Buzzard Eagle, American Kestrel, Harris’s Hawk, Chimango Caracara, California Quail, Chilean Flicker, Striped Woodpecker, Green-backed Firecrown, Giant Hummingbird, Patagonian Sierra-Finch, Grassland Yellow-Finch, Rufous-collared Sparrow, Long-tailed Meadowlark, Southern House Wren, Rufous-tailed Plantcutter, Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail, Tufted Tit-Tyrant, Fire-eyed Diucon, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, Austral Blackbird and Common Diuca-Finch, among others. Night in Viña del Mar.

DAY 10: Birding along the Pacific coast

Visit to a Humboldt Penguin Breeding Colony. Chance for Marine Otter. Then we head south to ponds and coastal marshes searching for the beautiful Many-colored Rush-Tyrant as well as many other species such as Great & White-tufted Grebes, Speckled Teal, Yellow-billed Pintail, Chiloe Wigeon, Lake Duck, Red Shoveler, Snowy Egret, Cinereous Harrier, Red-gartered, Red-fronted & White-winged Coots, Spot-flanked Gallinule, Plumbeous Rail, White-backed Stilt, Blackish Oystercatcher, Burrowing Owl, Wren-like Rushbird, Spectacled Tyrant, Yellow-winged Blackbird and the endemic Dusky Tapaculo, among others. Lodging at Viña del Mar.

DAY 11: Pelagic Trip off Quintero

Pelagic trip into the cold waters of the Humboldt Current, one of the world's finest pelagic birding locations. Departing from Quintero, we head offshore to meet the current to look for species which are endemic to this system such as Humboldt Penguin, Peruvian Diving-Petrel, Peruvian Booby, Guanay Cormorant, Peruvian Pelican, Grey Gull and Inca Tern. We also could encounter Northern Royal Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Salvin´s Albatross, Southern & Northern Giant Petrels, Southern Fulmar, Cape Petrel, Pink-footed & Sooty Shearwaters, White-chinned & Westland Petrels, Wilson’s Storm-Petrel and Chilean Skua. With a little bit of luck we might find Magellanic Penguin, Chatham Albatross, Buller's, Antipodean & Southern Royal Albatross, Juan Fernandez & Masafuera Petrels and Subantarctic Shearwater. Search for other seabirds and species not yet located. Back to hotel or Santiago Airport. End of the Trip or Flight to Puerto Montt.

DAY 12: Puerto Varas

Our trip starts today in the temperate zone of Chile, its famous “lake district”. Birding on the way to the attractive town of Puerto Varas. Some of the birds we´ll try see on the way (making several stops) are: Black-faced Ibis, Black Vulture, Southern Lapwing, Chilean Pigeon, Green-backed Firecrown, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, White-crested Elaenia, Patagonian Tyrant, Fire-eyed Diucon, Patagonian Sierra-Finch and Black-chinned Siskin, among others. Night in Puerto Varas.

DAY 13: Alerce Andino National Park

Today we look for Valdivian Rainforest specialties in Alerce Andino National Park such as Black-throated Huet-huet, Chucao Tapaculo, Ochre-flanked Tapaculo, Magellanic Tapaculo, Des Murs's Wiretail, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, White-throated Treerunner and Patagonian Tyrant, also chance for Austral Pygmy-Owl, Green-backed Firecrown, Austral Parakeet (the southernmost parakeet in the world) and the endemic Slender-billed Parakeet. Later we drive back birding along Reloncavi Sound looking for Chiloe Wigeon, Speckled Teal, Yellow-billed Pintail, Magellanic Oystercatcher, South American Snipe, Brown-hooded Gull, South American Tern, Black Skimmer, Ringed Kingfisher, Dark-bellied Cinclodes, Correndera Pipit and Grassland Yellow-Finch, among others. Night in Puerto Varas.

DAY 14: Chiloe Island & Puñihuil Natural Monument

From Puerto Varas we drive to Puerto Montt and from here we take the ferry to Chiloe Island, providing good chances to see coastal and pelagic seabirds such as Black-browed Albatross, Southern Giant-Petrel, Sooty & Pink-footed Shearwaters, Magellanic Diving-Petrel and the recently discovered new species to the world, the Pincoya Storm-Petrel. We should also encounter Black-necked Swan, Flying Steamer-Duck, Peruvian Pelican and Chilean Skua. After the ferry we visit a Magellanic Penguin Breeding Colony, where there are also Rock, Imperial & Red-legged Cormorants, Kelp Goose, Flightless Steamer-Duck, Kelp Gull, Dolphin Gull and Austral Negrito. Later we drive to some coastal wetlands where we may find Chilean Flamingo, Red Shoveler, Lake Duck, Hudsonian Godwit, Whimbrel, Sanderling, Baird´s Sandpiper, South American Snipe, Franklin´s Gull, Snowy-crowned Tern, Ringed Kingfisher, Spectacled Tyrant and Common (Chiloe) Diuca-Finch. Chance for Marine Otter. Night in Puerto Varas.

DAY 15: Birding and Flight to Punta Arenas.

Today we´ll focus on the outstanding Magellanic Woodpecker and species not yet located. Back to Puerto Montt Airport. End of the Trip or Flight to Punta Arenas.

DAY 16: Punta Arenas

We´ll visit some good birding spots near Punta Arenas, here we´ll find open steppe and wetlands where we should see many waterfowl including Black-necked Swan, Upland Goose, Flying Steamer-Duck, Crested Duck, Chiloe Wigeon, Red Shoveler, Imperial Cormorant, Dolphin Gull, Brown-hooded Gull, Chilean Skua, Dark-bellied Cinclodes, Long-tailed Meadowlark and get our first glimpses of Southern Fulmar among other birds along the shoreline of the straits of Magellan. Night in Punta Arenas.

DAY 17: Ferry to Tierra del Fuego

We cross the Straits of Magellan over to Tierra del Fuego today on a ferry that takes us to the town of Porvenir. This can be a productive 2,5-hour crossing, with good looks at Black-browed Albatross, Southern Giant-Petrel, Southern Fulmar, Magellanic Diving-Petrel, Magellanic Penguin and Rock Cormorant, among others. Chance for Peales´s and Commerson´s Dolphins. Then we bird the area around Porvenir for specialties such as Chilean Flamingo, Coscoroba Swan, South American Tern, Southern Caracara, Short-billed Miner, Patagonian Tit-Spinetail, Patagonian Yellow-Finch, Grey-hooded Sierra-Finch and White-bridled Finch. Visit to a King Penguin Colony. Mammals as Guanaco and South American Grey Fox can also be seen. Night in Porvenir.

DAY 18: Birding the Patagonian steppe

From Porvenir we drive northeast to looking for Magellanic Plover, Two-banded Plover and Rufous-chested Dotterel. Then we cross the Straits of Magellan over to inland and then we head to Pali Aike National Park searching the landscape for specialties such as Tawny-throated Dotterel, Cinnamon-bellied Ground-Tyrant, Chocolate-vented Tyrant, Band-tailed Earthcreeper, Yellow-bridled Finch and Least Seedsnipe. We end our day in the town of Puerto Natales or Torres del Paine.

DAY 19: Torres del Paine

The world-famous Torres del Paine National Park is our destination for the day. Its spectacular scenery provides a wonderful backdrop for our birding. Here we hope to find specialties such as Lesser (Darwin´s) Rhea, Ashy-headed Goose, Silver Teal, Rosy-billed Pochard, Andean Duck, Great Grebe, Silvery Grebe, Red-gartered Coot, Magellanic Oystercatcher and Austral Canastero. Chance for Andean Condor, Black-chested Buzzard Eagle and Cinereous Harrier, among other raptors. Time permitting, we search for Puma (Mountain Lion). Night in Torres del Paine.

DAY 20: Torres del Paine, Senos, Steppe and back to Punta Arenas

Today we focus on Magellanic Woodpecker, Austral Parakeet, Patagonian Mockingbird, White-throated Treeruner, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, Magellanic Tapaculo, Rufous-tailed Plantcutter and Patagonian Sierra-Finch. Our return to Punta Arenas is via the dramatic southern sounds (senos) of Patagonia and the windswept Nothofagus forests that line them. This route also keeps us close to the steppe and we should see a wonderful mix of bird species. Ruddy-headed Goose, Spectacled Duck, White-tufted Grebe, Andean Condor, Rufous-tailed Hawk, Southern Caracara, South American Snipe, Striped Woodpecker, Common Miner, Austral Canastero, Fire-eyed Diucon and Austral Blackbird are some of the birds we’ll be looking for. Chance for Patagonian Hog-nosed Skunk and Hairy Armadillo. Night in Punta Arenas.

DAY 21: Punta Arenas and Flight to Santiago

Time permitting, we spend the morning in Punta Arenas area or in Magallanes National Reserve looking for species not yet located. Flight to Santiago. End of the Trip.

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