TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT
Saturday 27 September - Sunday 12 October 2003
This has been an energetic and amazingly varied holiday. A variety of experiences has been hewed from a plethora of ecosystems. Much of the success of this trip has been due to your enthusiasm, vigilance and huge range of interests. Thank you.
My special thanks go to Luis, Germán , Elsa and especially to Marcos who was so generous with his time.
Luis led us with his usual skill but I have to say that this is the first trip during which we have visited a bank with no money and an Irish pub with no Guinness!
I hope to meet you all again soon.
SATURDAY 27 SEPTEMBER
We set off for Buenos Aires via Paris.
SUNDAY 28 SEPTEMBER
WEATHER Fine, sunny
We arrived on time to be greeted by the sun, Luis and Germán.
After a rest and lunch we visited the nature reserve at Costanera Sur. This area of trees, bushes, lakes and marginal vegetation is all that is left of a once ambitious dockyard scheme; it is one of the finest urban reserves in the World.
It being Sunday the reserve was full of local people enjoying jogging, cycling, walking and picnicking. This seemed to make not a jot of difference to the wildlife.
We were particularly thrilled to see great activity in the population of Coypu and Cavies. The bird life was also spectacular. The trees and bushes were full of songbirds and the wetlands abounded with ducks, grebes and gallinaceous species. After a while we managed get to grips with the identification of the three species of coot, Spot-flanked Gallinule and Grey-necked Wood-Rail. Moorhens were also common. Three species of grebes and ten species of wildfowl were also noted. The Black-headed Duck was particularly prized as it somewhat rare. Limpkins and Snail Kites were busy catching Apple Snails as egrets and a solitary Bare-faced Ibis stalked the shallows.
Perhaps one of the most interesting sights of the afternoon was a pair of Monk Parakeets neatly cutting small branches and carrying them off to their nest. This is the only species of parrot in the neotropics to build a nest rather than using a tree hole or burrow.
Green-barred Woodpeckers, Narrow-billed Woodcreepers and Glittering-bellied Emeralds also caught the eye. The most colourful bird of the day, though, was probably the tiny, secretive Many-coloured Rush-Tyrant.
Two reptiles also got into the act, the introduced Red-eared Terrapin and the local Hillary's Side-necked Turtle.
We were astonished to find that we had noted seventy species of birds during a relaxed afternoon.
We finished the day tired but flushed with excitement about the days ahead.
MONDAY 29 SEPTEMBER
WEATHER 1-2/8 Cirrus, sun, SE 1-2 increasing to 3-4. A cool wind.
We were delighted to find that Germán was to stay with us for the next two days.
The day was spent in a leisurely drive to San Clemente on the coast where the Atlantic meets the La Plata River.
The flat lands of the pampas were full of wildlife, especially wetland birds and raptors. The highlights of the day included Maguari Storks, Southern Screamers and Long-winged Harriers. The main venue of the day was the Estancia El Destino, an area of farmland established in 1929. It consisted of open grazing, mixed woodland, riverine forest and wetlands abutting the Plata. Thankfully it is now a wildlife conservation area. The birds were varied, as were the plants. Three plants caught the eye, the Horsetail (Equisetum gigantium), a vine (Tropaeolum pentaphyllum) and the bromeliad (Tillandsia ceranthos). We also delighted in two butterfly species West Indian Buckeye and Four-eyed Lady.
Cuckoos were also a feature of the day. We had fine views of Guira Cuckoo and Squirrel Cuckoo.
As we continued our journey we came across five Harris Hawks. A brief stop by the roadside also brought us into contact with Vermillion Flycatchers, Sooty Tyrannulet and a fine snake (Liophis anomalus).
We then encountered a flock of Greater Rhea, a fine male and seven females. This was to be the first of four flocks.
A brief visit to the Estancia El Palenque whetted our appetite. Tufted-Tit Spinetail, Blue and Yellow Tanager and Saffron Finch were seen well.
Though we had spent much of the day in the bus there was never a dull moment.
During the day Neil counted all the birds of prey that he could see from the coach or while walking. This was of course not a complete count but it may give a rough idea of the relative status of each species during the day:-
White -tailed Kite 9
Bay-winged (Harris) Hawk 5
Snail Kite 70
Long- winged Harrier 17*
Rufous-thighed Hawk 1
Roadside Hawk 6
S. Crested Caracara 49
Chimango Caracara 99
American Kestrel 3
* Males pale morph 10
dark morph 4
TUESDAY 30 SEPTEMBER
WEATHER 4/8 Ci, sun, E6
Moderating to wind force 3, 7/8 Cu. By mid-afternoon.
By 07.40 we were on foot in the well-vegetated sand dunes of Punta Rasa, the point that divides the River Plata from the Atlantic Ocean. The dunes held a wide variety of birds including the skulking Warbling Doradito, Long-tailed Reed Finch and Bay-capped Wren Spinetail. We also made our first acquaintance with some of the local wetland species.
After a while we made our way to the open mudflats of the point itself. By this time the wind had reached at least force six, making watching difficult. Despite this we were able to watch estuary birds through the telescopes. The most interesting of the gulls was Olrog's, a local species thought to have a population of only five thousand. Trudeau's Tern, the local tern species was accompanied by a Common Tern and a group of Royal Terns.
Migrant waders were also well represented. The Hudsonian Godwit was a delight to watch. We also noted a single Grey-hooded Gull amongst a mass of Brown-hooded and Kelp Gulls.
Off shore were Southern Giant Petrels, White-chinned Petrels and Black-browed Albatross kindly provided by the strong onshore wind.
Later we moved to the Faro San Antonio, a tall lighthouse, surrounded by mature trees and overlooking the mudflats. We were able to watch Monk Parakeets peering out of their communal stick nests. Many more birds were still building.
The flats were alive with birds, most of which were American Golden Plover and White-rumped Sandpiper. A search also revealed two Two-banded Plover and a solitary Willet, a rarity in Argentina.
A Spot-winged Pigeon and an introduced Greenfinch were also discovered on the shore.
It was then that Luis took us to a bank to change some currency only to be told that foreign exchange was only available to existing customers!
Soon after mid-day we set off towards Buenos Aires. As we stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch we saw Cattle Tyrants attempting to force a pair of Firewood-gatherers out of their stick nest.
By 13.40 we had returned to the Estancia El Palenque, the site of Germán's first faltering steps into ornithology some sixteen years ago.
He was able to show us a host of bird species during our visit. The most notable event was a flock of about one hundred American Golden Plover with accompanying Buff-breasted Sandpipers. A Greater Yellowlegs and a feeding Roseate Spoonbill were also highlights. The icing on the cake was provided by a male Cinereous Harrier quartering the reedbeds.
The rest of the afternoon was spent driving to BA. Sightings en route included a Ringed Kingfisher and, surprisingly, a pair of the elusive Brazilian Duck.
By the time we arrived in the capital Luis had organised our currency exchange.
We all turned in knowing that a lie-in was available in the morning!
WEDNESDAY 1 OCTOBER
WEATHER AT SALTA 2/8 Ci, sun, 28 degrees C. Cooling light wind.
The flight from Buenos Aires to Salta was on time enabling us to take a pleasant walk to the edge of the yungas forest at San Lorenzo.
Though we saw a good number of plants and butterflies now that we had left Buenos Aires Province we had no books to help us identify the species.
The bird highlights included a flock of Plush-capped Jays, Golden-billed Saltator, Saffron-billed Sparrow, Brown-capped Whitestart and Stripe-crowned Spinetail. We were also overflown by flocks of White-eyed Parakeets and a pair of Scaly-headed Parrots.
After an excellent dinner at the local restaurant we walked up the hill to the hotel. This I'm sure was good for us; well possibly good for us.
THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER
WEATHER Early 5/8 Cu,sun,still. By 13.00 8/8 Cu. Dull, E 2 increasing to 4.
As we prepared to set out for the day Red-legged Seriema were calling from the forest. Despite all our efforts we failed to see them. It was very frustrating because a sighting of this strange bird, a cross between a stone curlew and a punk rocker, would have been most enlightening
The objective for the day was to drive the Cachi Road. This would take us to the pass Piedra del Molino at 10,850 ft a.s.l. and beyond to a lower level to the 'Cactus Fields.' As we climbed we passed through steeply sloping hillsides covered with yungas forest. This then became lighter forest interspersed with cactus. Much of the day was spent in the Caldones National Park.
The road followed the River Escoipe where we noted Black-crowned Night and Whistling Herons and five magnificent Buff-necked Ibis.
We were also fortunate to gain fine views of a number of spinetails, sierra and warbling finches and a rather smart Rock Earthcreeper.
Birds of prey included Chimango and Crested Caracaras, White-tailed Hawk and at least four Andean Condors, one of which was an adult.
Grey-hooded Parakeets and Golden-winged Caciques added a little colour to the proceedings.
The photographic climax of the day came when we reached our final destination, Recta del Tin-Tin, a semi-desert plain dominated by the tall cactus (Trichocereus pasacana), the so-called 'Cactus Fields'.
We felt we had earned our dinner at the end of a long but rewarding day. As we were in Argentina's principal white wine producing area we felt bound to make a modest study of the product.
FRIDAY 3 OCTOBER
WEATHER 7-8/8 Cu. Dull , 0 becoming hazy sun in the afternoon, warm, muggy, evening breeze
As we prepared to leave Alder Parrots overflew us.
By 08.30 we were at La Caldera, a large lake, on our way to Jujuy. We were amazed to find such a variety of bird species. There were several species of duck including Comb Duck and White cheeked Pintail. Puna Ibis were also numerous. We were also entertained by the presence of White Monjita and two pairs of very confiding Burrowing Owls. Birds of prey included Crested, Chimango and Yellow-headed Caracara, Roadside Hawk, Snail Kite and Black Vulture. Once again we head seriemas calling but they were not to be seen.
As we continued through the yungas forest we came across a number of local specialities including Two-banded Warbler, Rufous -capped Antshrike, Black-backed Grosbeak, Dot-fronted Woodpecker and Rusty-browed Warbling Finch.
Lunch was taken in Libertador General San Martin, locally called 'Ledesma', after the sugar refinery.
In the afternoon we visited the forest of the Calilegua National Park. Once again we found a selection of attractive birds including Green-cheeked Parakeet, Golden-collared Macaw, Purple throated Euphonia, Guira Tanager and Variable Ant-shrike.
We were beginning to feel at home in the yungas.
SATURDAY 4 OCTOBER
WEATHER 4/8 Cu, sun, 0
We made an early morning visit to the Calilegua National Park.
Almost as soon as we entered the park we saw a pair of Toco Toucan in bright sunlight. A Bat Falcon then flashed by. We then climbed through the primary yungas forest until we reached the Mesada las Colmenas, the ranger station, at 3600 ft a.s.l. The mountain scenery beyond was stunning and the bird watching was spectacular. We came across such wonders as a male Red-tailed Comet and the more subtle Blue-capped Puffleg. We also had fine views of the South Yungas Squirrel.
Just before we reached the park entrance we stopped to look at a Blue-crowned Trogon in a tree. Within a few feet there was also a very active Black-banded Woodcreeper, a species that can be very elusive.
In the afternoon we took the road to Termas de Reyes and then a dirt road over the mountains through alder forest. A brief stop was made at the Lagunas de Yala where we saw Andean Lapwing.
Whilst driving to Yala we stopped at vantage points overlooking the rivers to look for dippers, which sadly eluded us.
Our journey ended in Purmamarca at 6800 ft a.s.l.
We dined out at a very atmospheric local restaurant; well it had a good atmosphere whilst we were there!
SUNDAY 5 OCTOBER
WEATHER 1/8 Cu.sun,0
The day was spent exploring the Puna.
As we drove north we 'passed over' the Tropic of Capricorn. We were heading along the Humahuaca Ravine into the high Puna, a semi-desert region covered in low bushes. The edges of the road held a variety of bird species including a huge flock of Yellow Finches, both Bright-rumped and Puna. There was also a Long-tailed Meadowlark. By the time we had reached Abra Pampawe we had climbed to 12,000 ft a.s.l. Just beyond the town was the shallow Runtuyoc Lagoon.
It was difficult to know what to look at first. There were at least one hundred and fifty flamingos, most of which were Chilean but there was also a small group of very colourful James's or Puna Flamingos. Wildfowl were represented by Andean Geese, Speckled Teal, Cinnamon Teal and a pair of Crested Duck. There were also two Giant Coot. The grassland around the lagoon was home to Common Miners and Andean Negrito.
We continued along a dirt road to Laguna da Pozuelos. We were soon passing herds of sheep, Llama and wild Vicuna. The Vicuna gave excellent photographic opportunities. Much to our surprise we also enjoyed close views of a Calpeo Fox.
A small pool in a dry riverbed sheltered Spectacled Teal and provided drinking water for Greenish Yellowfinch, Ash-breasted Sierra Finch and Rufous-banded Minor. A Cavy also made a guest appearance.
In a small roadside settlement we had a close encounter with Mountain Caracara.
As we drove on we reached just over 13,500 ft a.s.l.
The Laguna de Pozuelos was our lunch venue. The wildlife highlights here were flocks of Vicuna and Lesser Rheas. The huge lake had retreated from the original shores. Massive flocks of duck and flamingos were only seen as a haze in the distance. We had it in mind to drive on to the Lagunillas in search of coot. The road had deteriorated to such an extent though that we decided to make our way back to Purmamurca.
Soon after setting off we discovered two rather subtle doves both of which are named after their major feature; Black-winged and Golden-spotted Ground Doves.
The most surprising bird event of the day happened as we crossed a bridge over a shallow river. There were two Wilson's Phalarope busily catching flies from the water surface. This wader is a migrant from Arctic North America.
As we drove on we managed to make a number of photographic stops.
We had thoroughly captured the spirit of the Puna.
MONDAY 6 OCTOBER
WEATHER 1/8 Ci, sun,0
A walk around the hotel garden revealed a large variety of bird species including a small flock of dazzling Golden-rumped Euphonia.
We then drove to Tilcara to visit the Pucara, an ancient Quenchua fortress which had, in part, been lovingly restored. The location was both strategically and scenically apt. The view of the surrounding mountains was breath taking. The hillside was dominated by huge cactus amongst which we noted Rusty-vented Canastero, Black-hooded Sierra Finch and Brown-backed Mockingbird.
Jujuy airport was our next destination but we made a brief stop at Yala. Here we were fortunate enough to find two Rufous-throated Dippers in the rock-strewn bed of the Yala River. Contact was also made with a pair of rather delicate Spotted-breasted Thornbirds.
The flight to Buenos Aires was routine, as was our passage to the hotel.
In the early evening some of us made a brief visit to a nearby Irish Pub, reputedly the best in the area according to Luis. It must have been the only Irish pub in the World that had run out of Guinness!
We then dined out.
TUESDAY 7 OCTOBER
WEATHER Iguazu clear, hot (79 degrees at mid-day)
In the morning we left Buenos Aires and flew over the River Plata and the border areas of Uruguay and Southern Brazil to Iguazu.
Here we were met by Elsa, our National Park Guide.
We then drove to our hotel in the heart of the park. We did not have to wait long before we could enjoy the Iguazu Falls, all our rooms had panoramic views.
The rest of the day was spent walking the pathways overlooking the Falls. The roaring waters almost drowned out the sound of clicking cameras. We were doing our 'tourist bit'.
Lunch was eaten in the company of Red-rumped Caciques, marauding Coatis and Tegu, the 'giant' lizard.
Tanagers and euphonia flitted around the trees as Toco Toucans made more stately progress.
Myriads of Great-dusky Swifts flew overhead. Some were seen to fly through the descending wall of water to their nests on ledges beyond.
The major event of the day though was the arrival, on an overhead branch, of a magnificent Black-fronted Piping Guan. This sturdy pied 'gamebird' stood in bright mottled sunlight just begging to be photographed. One of the group showed such valour in his attempts to photograph the bird that he was decorated from on high. Later the bird was joined by another but this one was at a safer distance.
Birdwatching in the tropics doesn't get any better than that. Mind you watching half a dozen agile Plumbeous Kites wheeling round catching insects probably came a close second.
WEDNESDAY 8 OCTOBER
WEATHER 1/8 Ci. Sun, 0
Much of the early morning was spent on or around Ruta 101, a dirt road leading to the Brazilian border.
The forest yielded a good variety of birds and butterflies. Amongst the birds the gems were Blue-winged Parrotlet, Surucua Trogon, Green Ibis and Blue Dacnis.
Soon after turning onto a forest path one of the group noticed a small snake. It was a wonderfully camouflaged recently hatched nine-inch viper (Bothrops alternata); small but potentially dangerous. Photographs were taken at a respectful distance.
The butterflies were sensational, a true carnival of colour. At one point we found a muddy pool where butterflies were standing 'shoulder to shoulder' sucking in the mineral rich liquid. From this point onward there were butterflies everywhere even on our clothes, hands and cameras. This was the best display of butterflies any of us had ever seen. Giant morphos flapped around like birds whilst smaller species shot from plant to plant.
The path led us to the Garganta del Diablo, Devil's Throat. A boardwalk enabled us to reach a platform overlooking the lip of the falls where water cascaded six hundred feet to the river below.
The relatively calm waters above the falls were the hunting ground for Spectacled Caiman, Snail Kites, White-winged and Black-collared Swallows.
At mid-day we joined the 'tourists' on the light railway which took us to the Central Station. We lunched in the restaurant and then walked to the hotel to rest for a while.
Later we walked the Macuco Trail which was full of interesting insects and plants, but the birds were quiet at first. Eventually we found a number of typically skulking forest species including Short-tailed Ant Thrush, Southern Bristle Tyrant, Rufous Gnateater and Plain Antvireo. By contrast a pair of brilliantly coloured Robust Woodpeckers also joined the throng.
In the late afternoon we visited a delightful garden in suburban Porto Iguazu, the 'Jardin de los Picaflores.' We sat comfortably within a few feet of sugar feeders watching the antics of seven species of hummingbirds
Having reverted to 'tourist mode' we visited Hito Tri Partito, a viewpoint overlooking the border areas of both Brazil and Paraguay.
After a fine meal, shared by Miguel Castelino, our leader on previous visits to Iguazu, and the 2004 Brazil Trip, we scampered 'home' to get some rest.
THURSDAY 9 OCTOBER
WEATHER 8/8 Cu. Dull. 0
Pouring rain after a ferocious electric storm which lasted most of the night.
12.00 8/8/ Cu, hazy sun, humid,0
The drive towards San Ignacio revealed little in the way of wildlife.
By the time we reached the ruined Jesuit mission at San Ignacio the rain had stopped and the weather started to improve. The ruins, a complex of houses, a school and a church, which originated from the middle of the Seventeenth Century were of interest as were the birds which inhabited the mature woodland within the grounds. Pale-bellied Thrush, Brown-chested and Grey-breasted Martins were very obvious as was a brief flypast of Ashy-tailed Swifts.
The storm had left the town without electricity but that did not hamper our attempts to eat lunch.
By 14.30 we were driving down a rather muddy side road to an area of marsh where we were immediately serenaded by a chorus of frogs. Whilst a Savannah Hawk quartered the marsh we were introduced to Yellow-rumped Marsh Birds, Greater Thornbirds, Pale-breasted Spinetail and a lone Grassland Sparrow.
Once we reached the edge of the Ibera Marshes we began to pass flocks of waterbirds including Limpkins and Roseate Spoonbills. Then Giant Woodrails started to become common roadside birds.
We were greeted at the Estancia San Juan Pariahe by a pair of Spotted Tinamou and the owner, Marcos Garcia Rams.
The estancia is a wonderful mosaic of grassland, lakes, shallow pools and wooded islands set in the huge Ibera Marsh The hub of this twenty-thousand hectare farm is the two hundred year old farmhouse.
The day closed with a fine meal, another amphibian chorus and bats flying beneath a full moon.
FRIDAY 10 OCTOBER
ESTANCIA SAN JUAN PARIAHE
WEATHER A red dawn. 1/8 Ci. Cool, E 2-3. By midmorning the cloud cover was total and the cold wind increased to force 6-7. Luis stated that he had never known the area to be so cold, even in winter.
The day started well with the discovery of a Rufescent Tiger Heron perched in tree in the garden and great activity on the nearby marsh.
We were soon settled in a four-wheel drive vehicle driven by Marcos. The nearby drainage channels held Brazilian Teal, Striated Herons and Giant Woodrail. As we entered the more open grassland Strange-tailed Tyrants leapt from the ground and settled on grass stems as did the much more enigmatic Wedge-tailed Grassfinch. Then a yellowish bird soared high into the air and began its song flight: it was an Ochre-breasted Pipit. We then came face to face with Spectacled Caiman, thankfully at a distance. Great Rheas then appeared; eventually we saw three groups and two lone males. Marcos then drove us to one of the wooded 'islands' where we watched nesting Jabiru at a range of fifty yards. The adult and two well-grown chicks were completely unmoved by our presence, as was a perched Black-chested Buzzard Eagle.
Once out in open ground again we found a number of marshland songbirds; the very local Black and white Monjita, its more common cousin White Monjita, Chopi Blackbird, Scarlet-headed Blackbird and two species of Marsh Bird.
Our next stop was a breeding colony of spoonbills, herons and egrets The Roseate Spoonbills shone out like beacons against the angry sky and the contrasting white of the egrets.
The wind increased making it necessary to search the sheltered sides of the woodlands. There was a great deal of bird activity there. Yellow-chinned and Sooty-fronted Spinetails, Swainson's Flycatcher, Ultramarine Grosbeak and Xenopsaris were all feeding in the lee.
As we crossed a nearby bridge we found a number of fish in the road. Some were dead, some alive. Marcos returned the live ones to the water. How did they get onto the road? Who knows? Nearby were a number of Black Caiman could they have forced the fish to leave the water? It seems unlikely as none of the fish appeared to have been attacked.
Once back at the farmhouse we parked under a tree containing a troupe of Howler Monkeys. They gave us the impression that they didn't like the cold wind either.
There was a post-lunch surprise: one of the guests took us to see a captive Yellow Anaconda which had been confiscated from a city family. The anaconda was to feature in a documentary film being made by a French team. We were surprised to find that it was not a really big specimen at over ten feet long and sixty pounds in weight.
After a siesta we ventured out again. Our intention was to take a boat trip on one of the lakes. Unfortunately the water was too choppy so we set off in the truck again. One muddy area of the marsh held Southern Lapwing, American Golden Plover, Buff-breasted Sandpiper and a Lesser Yellowlegs. Nearby were a dozen or so grazing Capybara.
Once again we sought shelter in the lee of a wood. This time we discovered a fine Black-collared Hawk, a Striped Cuckoo, Green-backed Woodpecker, Ringed Kingfisher and White-headed Marsh Tyrant.
Marco then led us into wood and explained the ecosystem with great skill. We were particularly fascinated by the evidence left by local mammals. At one point he painted a vivid picture of armadillos rooting through howler monkey dung for seeds.
Another highlight of the day was the sighting of Marsh Deer feeding near the far house. Watching them was a delightful experience.
There were more surprises to come though. Just as we were completing dinner we were called to see a Nine-banded Armadillo. We marvelled at the speed at which it made off into the night. As we returned to the dining room a Barn Owl flew over our heads.
The day had been one that would live in our memories for ever. We had visited a great variety of habitats noted many species of plants, five species of mammals, two species of crocodile and over a hundred species of birds. It was a fittiing end to our trip.
SATURDAY 11 OCTOBER
ESTANCIA SAN JUAN PORIAHE
We left early for the airport at Corrientes. As often happens on the last day the weather was perfect. The only notable sighting en route was of a group of Greater Rheas in a rice paddy.
Our route home was via Buenos Aires and Paris.
SUNDAY 12 OCTOBER
We arrived in London after comfortable flights.
BUENOS AIRES BA
COSTANERA SUR CS
IBERA MARSH IB
SALTA/CALDONES NP SA
SAN CLEMENTE/PUNTA RASA SC
'YUNGUS'/CALILEGUA NP YU
PEAK COUNT ( )
TOTAL COUNT [ ]
Greater Rhea Rhea americanus Common PA & IB 
Darwin's Rhea Rhea (Pterocnemia) pennata Twenty five PU
Spotted Tinamou Nothura maculosa Two PA and two IB
White-tufted Grebe Rollandia rolland Only CS & PA
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps Only at CS, La Caldera and Lagunas de Yala
Great Grebe Podicephorus major One CS and ten Punta Rasa
Black-browed Albatross Melanophrys melanophrys At least four SC
Common Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus Five Punta Rasa
White-chinned Petrel Procellaria aequinoctalis At least three SC
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga Common IG & IB
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus Common on salt and fresh waters
White-necked Heron Ardea cocoi Mainly noted PA & IB
Rufescent Tiger-Heron Tigrisoma lineatum One IB
Whistling Heron Syrigma sibilatrix Mainly PA & IB
Great Egret Ardea (Casmerodius) alba Common in wetlands
Snowy Egret Egretta thula Widespread in wetlands
Cattle Egret Bubulcus (Ardea) ibis Confined to wet areas with livestock
Striated Heron Butorides striatus Only IG &IB
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax Five SA and two IB
Maguari Stork Ciconia maguari Very common PA &IB
Jabiru Jabiru mycteria Two pairs with young IB
Buff-necked Ibis Theristicus caudatus Common SA
Green Ibis Mesembrinibis cayannensis Two IG
Bare-faced Ibis Phimosus infuscatus A handful PA and large flocks IB
Puna Ibis Plegadis ridgwayi At least fifty La Caldera
White-faced Ibis Plegadis chihi Thousands PA and flocks IB
Roseate Spoonbill Ajaia ajaja One PA & large flocks IB
Chilean Flamingo Phoenicopterus chilensis Large numbers PU
Puna Flamingo Phoenicoparrus (Phoenicoparrus) jamesi A handful amongst chilensis PU
Southern Screamer Chauna torquata Widespread PA & IB
Comb Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos At least four La Caldera
Fulvous Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna bicolor Common CS & la Caldera
White-faced Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna viduata Flocks PA & IB
Coscoroba Swan Coscoroba coscoroba Hundreds CS & PA
Black-necked Swan Cygnus melanocorypha Only CS & PA
Andean Goose Chloephaga melanoptera Twenty PU
Crested Duck Lophonetta specularioides A pair PU
Southern Wigeon Anas sibilatrix Only a dozen PA
Yellow-billed Pintail Anas georgica Scattered records PA and a large flock La Caldera
Speckled Teal Anas flavirostris Common PA and forty PU
Red Shoveler Anas platalea Scattered records CS, PA and La Caldera
Cinnamon Teal Anas cyanoptera At least eight PU
White-cheeked Pintail Anas bahamensis At least twenty La Caldera
Silver Teal Anas versicolor Only CS
Rosy-billed Pochard Netta (Metopiana) peposaca Only Cs, PA and La Caldera
Brazilian Duck Amazonetta brasiliensis Two BA and four IB
Black-headed Duck Heteronetta atricapilla Eight CS
Lake Duck Oxyura vittata Four CS and at least five la Caldera
Masked Duck Nomonyx dominicus Five CS
Andean Condor Vultur gryphus Six sightings of at least four individuals including an adult Caldones NP
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura Mainly in open grasslands
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus Very common in forest areas
Black-crested Buzzard-Eagle Geranoaetus melanoleucus Two IB
Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus Three SA & eight PU. Five IB
White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus Widespread in open grasslands
Plumbeous Kite Ictinia plumbea Common IG
Bay-winged Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus Five PA
Snail Kite Rosthramus sociabilis Common near all suitable wetlands (70)
Long-winged Harrier Circus buffoni Common PA (17)
Cinereous Harrier Circus cinereus One male PA
Rufous-thighed Hawk Accipiter erythronemius One PA
Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris Widely distributed
White-tailed Hawk Buteo albicaudatus Two Cardones NP
Red-backed Hawk (Variable) Buteo polyosoma Two PU
Black-collared Hawk Busarellus nigricollis One IB
Savanna Hawk Buteogallus meridionalis Three IB
Southern-Crested Caracara Caracara plancus Widespread and numerous away from forests
Chimango Caracara Milvago chimango Very common in open country
Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima Two La Caldera and three IB
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus One Lorenzo
Aplomado Falcon Falco femoralis One PU and one IB
Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis One Calilegua NP
American Kestrel Falco sparverius Widespread in small numbers 
Black-fronted Piping-Guan Pipile jacutinga Two, presumably a pair, IG
Dusky-legged Guan Penelope obscura Three Cardones NP
Limpkin Aramus guarauna Only CS, PA and IB [200 IB]
Giant Wood-Rail Aramides ypecaha Common IB 
Grey-necked Wood-Rail Aramides cajanea Three records CS, PA & Cardones NP
Slaty-breasted Wood-Rail Aramides saracura Two at the roadside IG
Giant Coot Fulica gigantea Two PU
Red-gartered Coot Fulica armillata Confined to CS, PA & waters in the YU
White-winged Coot Fulica leucoptera CS, PA and waters in the YU
Red-fronted Coot Fulica rufifrons Only CS and PA
Common Gallinule Gallinula chloropus On waters CS, PA YU and IB
Spot-flanked Gallinule Porphyriops melanops Only Cs where common and a single record PA
Red-legged Seriema Cariama cristata Heard Lorenzo and La Caldera
Wattled Jacana Jacana jacana A few CS, Legunas de Yala and more IB
American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus Sixteen Punta Rasa
South American Stilt Himantopus melanurus In a wide variety of wetlands from 13,000 ft a.s.l. to sea level.
Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis Noted almost every day
Andean Lapwing Vanellus resplendens Two records Lagunas de Yala and ten PU
American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica Some 120 SC and two IB
Two-banded Plover Charadrius falklandicus Two SC
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca One PA
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes Twenty seven PA and one IB
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia One IB
Buff-breasted Sandpiper Tryngites subruficollis Two PA and four IB
Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus One SC was a rare migrant from North America
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres Ten SC
White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis At least sixty SC
Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica At least one hundred SC
South-american Snipe Gallinago paraguaiae In muddy areas pa and IB
Wilson's Phalarope Phalaropus tricolor Two PU
Brown Skua Stercorarius antarcticus One Punta Rasa
Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus Only SC and PA
Olrog's Gull Larus atlanticus Four SC
Andean Gull Chroicocephalus serranus Five PU & PUR
Grey-hooded Gull Chroicocephalus cirrhocephalus One SC
Brown-hooded Gull Chroicocephalus maculipennis At CS & SC
Snowy-crowned Tern Sterna trudeaui At least one hundred SC
Common Tern Sterna hirundo One Punta Rasa
Royal Tern Sterna (Thallasseus) maxima Ten Punta Rasa
Pale-vented Pigeon Columba cayennensis Only IG &IB
Picazuro Pigeon Columba picazuro Recorded throughout
Spot-winged Pigeon Columba maculosa A single bird Punta Rasa
Rock Dove Columba livia Common near habitation
Eared Dove Zenaida auriculata Common throughout
Picui Ground-Dove Columbina picui Noted PUR and IB
Ruddy Ground-Dove Columbina talpacoti Single birds SA & IG
Black-winged Ground-Dove Metriopelia melanoptera Single birds SA & PU
Golden-spotted Ground-Dove Metriopelia aymara Two PU
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi Only PA & SA
Yungas Dove Leptotila megalura Heard YU
Grey-fronted Dove Leptotila rufaxilla Five IG
Golden-collared Macaw Primolius auricollis At least twenty YU
White-eyed Parakeet Aratinga leucophtalma Common BA, SA & YU
Black-hooded Parakeet Nandayus nenday A small flock CS
Monk Parakeet Myiopsitta monacha Numerous CS, PA &IB
Green-cheeked Parakeet Pyrrhura molinae A pair YU
Grey-hooded Parakeet Bolborhynchus (Psilopsiagon) aymara Twenty Caldones NP
Blue-winged Parrotlet Forpus xanthopterygius One IG
Scaly-headed Parrot Pionus maximiliani pairs noted YU & PUR
Alder Parrot Amazona tucumana Flyover views PUR
Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani Only IB
Guira Cuckoo Guira guira Very active flocks PA, YU and IB
Striped Cuckoo Tapera naevia One IB
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana Four records in a variety of woodland settings
Barn Owl Tyto alba One IB
Burrowing Owl Athene (Speotyto) cunicularia Two pairs La Caldera
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium brasilianum Heard IG
Great Dusky Swift Cypseloides senex Huge numbers IG
Rothschild's Swift Cypseloides rothschildi Two Calilegua NP
Ashy-tailed Swift Chaetura meridionalis Several San Ignacio
Andean Swift Aeronautes andecolus Two Cardones NP
Planalto Hermit Phaethornis pretrei Only IG
Red-tailed Comet Sappho sparganura Only Lorenzo and Calilegua NP
Black-throated Mango Anthracothorax nigricollis Only IG
Black Jacobin Melanotrochilus (Florisuga) fuscus Only IG
White-bellied Hummingbird Amazilia (Leucippus) chionogaster Confined SA & YU
Violet-capped Woodnymph Thalurania glaucopis One IG
Blue-capped Puffleg Eriocnemis glaucopoides A pair Calilegua NP
Speckled Hummingbird Adelomyia melanogenys One Calelegua NP
Glittering-bellied Emerald Chlorostilbon aureoventris Recorded CS,PA & YU
Gilded Sapphire Hylocharis chrysura Noted PA & IG
Versicolored Emerald Amazilia (Agyrtria) versicolor Only IG
Surucua Trogon Trogon surrucura Seen well IG
Blue-crowned Trogon Trogon curucui One Calilegua NP
Ringed Kingfisher Ceryle torquata One PA and common IB
Toco Toucan Rhamphastos toco Common YU & IG
Field Flicker Colaptes campestris Common in open country
Green-barred Woodpecker Colaptes melanochloros Noted CS, PA & IB
Yellow-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes flavifrons Four records IG
White-spotted Woodpecker Veniliornis spilogaster Single records Ig & San Ignacio
Dot-fronted Woodpecker Veniliornis frontalis Three records YU
Robust Woodpecker Campephilus robustus A pair IG
Black-banded Woodcreeper Dendrocolaptes picumnus A fine bird Calilegua NP
Narrow-billed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes angustirostris Noted CS &YU
Neotropic (Olivacious) Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus Only YU
Rufous-banded Miner Geositta rufipennis Two PU
Common Miner Geositta cunicularia Two PA
Rock Earthcreeper Upucerthia andeacola One Cardones NP
Bar-winged Cinclodes Cinclodes fuscus Noted PA,SA & PU
Rufous Hornero Furnarius rufus Noted daily
White-eyed Foliage-gleaner Automolus leucophthalmus Heard IG
Sulphur-bearded Spinetail Cranioleuca sulphurifera Only CS
Yellow-throated Spinetail Certhiaxis cinnamomea Two IB
Red-capped Wren-Spinetail Spartonoica maluroides One PA
Stripe-crowned Spinetail Cranioleuca pyrrhophia One Lorenzo, one Calilegua NP
Firewood-gatherer Anumbius annumbi Two PA and two IB
Rusty-vented Canastero Asthenes dorbignyi Several PUR
Azara' s Spinetail Synallaxis azarae Only SA &YU
Sooty-fronted Spinetail Synallaxis frontalis Two IB
Pale-breasted Spinetail Synallaxis albescens Two IB
Chicli (Spix's) Spinetail Synallaxis spixi One IG
Tufted Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura platensis One PA
Brown-capped Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura fuliginicep Two Cardones NP
Greater Thornbird Phacellodomus ruber Common IB
Streak-fronted Thornbird Phacellodomus striaticeps Only Cardones NU and PU
Freckle-breasted Thornbird Phacellodomus striaticollis Only CS & PA
Spotted-breasted Thornbird Phacellodomus maculipectus Two PUR
Buff-browed Foliage-Gleaner Syndactyla rufosuperciliata Only SA & YU
Buff-fronted Foliage-Gleaner Philydor rufus One IG
Rufous-capped Antshrike Thamnophilus ruficapillus A pair Calilagua NP
Variable Antshrike Thamnophilus caerulescens A pair Calilegua NP
Plain Antvireo Dysithamnus mentalis A pair IG
Rufous Gnateater Conopophaga lineata One IG
Short-tailed Antthrush Chamaeza campanisona One in song IG
Black-crowned Tityra Tityra inquisitor One IG
Xenopsaris Xenopsaris albinucha One IB
Swallow-tailed (Blue) Manakin Chiroxiphia caudata A fleeting pair IG
Black and White Monjita Heteroxolmis dominicana Two pairs IB
White Monjita Xolmis irupero Scattered records, the highest concentration IB
Andean Negrito Lessonia oreas Only PU
Spectacled Tyrant Hymenops perspicillata Confined to BA,PA & IB
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans Common by fast rivers
Long-tailed Tyrant Colonia colonus Two IG
Strange-tailed Tyrant Alectrurus risora At least five birds IB
Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus Only IG
White-headed Marsh-Tyrant Arundinicola leucocephala Only IB
Sooty Tyrannulet Serpophaga nigricans Two PA
Many-coloured Rush-Tyrant Tachuris rubrigastra One CS and One PA
Cattle Tyrant Machetornis rixosus In open grassland
Yellow-browed Tyrant Satrapa icterophrys In grassland
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus Noted daily
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarhynchus pitangua One IG
Vermillon-crowned (Social) Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis Only IG
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus A roadside bird
Fork-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus savana In open country, often seen on fences
Swainson's Flycatcher Myiarchus swainsoni Only IB
Smoke-coloured Pewee Contopus fumigatus Only Cardones NP
Ochre-faced Tody-Tyrant Todirostrum plumbeiceps One Calilegua NP
Southern Bristle-Tyrant Phylloscartes eximius One IG
Mottled-cheeked Tyrannulet Phylloscartes ventralis Three records SA & YU
Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus Only in wooded grasslands PA & IB
Warbling Doradito Pseudocolopteryx flaviventris A single record on the dunes SC
White-crested Tyrannulet Serpophaga subcristata Recorded PA & SA
Grey-crowned Tyrannulet Serpophaga griseiceps Two CS
Buff-banded Tyrannulet Mecocerculus hellmayri Only YU
Yellow-bellied Elaenia Elaenia flavogaster Two Lorenzo
Greenish Elaenia Myiopagis viridicata One IG
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica Scattered records but flock IB
Grey-breasted Martin Progne chalybea Common in the grasslands of PA & IB
Brown-chested Martin Progne tapera Only San Ignacio and IB
White-rumped Swallow Tachycineta leucorrhoa Mainly PA
White-winged Swallow Tachycineta albiventer Confined to IG
Sand Martin Riparia riparia Scattered records by water
Blue-and-White Swallow Notiochelidon (Pygochelidon) cyanoleuca Scattered records more common in forest and wooded areas
Black-collared Swallow Atticora melanoleuca Three IG
Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis Several IG
Plush-crested Jay Cyanocorax chrysops Common in forests
Rufous-throated Dipper Cinclus schulzi Two, possibly a pair, Rio Yala
House Wren Troglodytes aedon Very common
Mountain Wren Troglodytes solstitialis Two Calilegua NP
Brown-backed Mockingbird Mimus dorsalis Two Tilcara
White-banded Mockingbird Mimus triurus One SC
Chalk-browed Mockingbird Mimus saturninus Common in open country
Patagonian Mockingbird Mimus patagonicus Scattered records
Black-capped Donacobius Donacobius atricapillus Only at IG
Creamy-bellied Thrush Turdus amaurochalinus Only BA, IB & San Ignacio
Pale-breasted Thrush Turdus leucomelas At IG and Sa Ignacio
Rufous-bellied Thrush Turdus rufiventris Common
Chiguanco Thrush Turdus chiguanco Confined to higher altitudes
Correndera Pipit Anthus correndera Five SC
Ochre-breasted Pipit Anthus nattereri Common IB
Masked Gnatcatcher Polioptila dumicola Only CS,PA & IB
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus One IG
Rufous-browed Peppershrike Cyclarhis gujanensis One Cardones NP
House Sparrow Passer domesticus Common near habitation
European Starling Sturnus vulgaris Common BA
Two-banded Warbler Basileuterus bivittatu Only Calilegua NP
Golden-crowned Warbler Basileuterus culicivorus Only noted SC & IG
Brown-capped Whitestart Myioborus brunniceps Common SA & YU
Tropical Parula Parula pitiayumi Scattered records in woodland
Masked Yellowthroat Geothlypis aequinoctialis Two CS
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola Only IG
Blue Dacnis Dacnis cayana Noted IG
Swallow Tanager Tersina viridis Only IG
Golden-rumped Euphonia Euphonia cyanocephala Common PUR & IG
Purple-throated Euphonia Euphonia chlorotica Only Calilegua NP & IG
Violaceous Euphonia Euphonia violacea Only IG
Blue-naped Chlorophonia Chlorophonia cyanea Good views IG
Guira Tanager Hemithraupis guira Only Calilegua NP
Common Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus ophtalmicus Mainly Calilegua NP
Green-headed Tanager Tangara seledon At I
Black-goggled Tanager Trichothraupis melanops One IG
White-lined Tanager Tachyphonus rufus One IB
Sayaca Tanager Thraupis sayaca A common forest bird
Fawn-breasted Tanager Pipraeidea melanonota One IG
Hepatic Tanager Piranga flava Scattered records SA & YU
Blue-and-Yellow Tanager Thraupis bonariensis Two records; one PA and one Lorenzo
Golden-billed Saltator Saltator aurantiirostris Mainly SA & YU
Green-winged Saltator Saltator similis Only IG & IB
Greyish Saltator Saltator coerulescens Two IB
Red-crested Cardinal Paroaria coronata Noted CS,PA and IB
Yellow-billed Cardinal Paroaria capitata Two CS
Black-backed Grosbeak Pheucticus aureoventris Only Calilegua NP
Saffron-billed Sparrow Arremon flavirostris Noted Lorenzo and Calilegua NP
Ultramarine Grosbeak Cyanocompsa brissonii A male IB
Blue-Black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina Common Calilegua NP
Band-tailed Seedeater Catamenia analis One Calilegua NP
Plain-colored Seedeater Catamenia inornata Two Calilegua NP
Grassland Yellow-Finch Sicalis luteola Only PA and La Caldera
Saffron Finch Sicalis flaveola Common
Bright-rumped Yellow-Finch Sicalis uropygialis Very common PU
Puna Yellow-Finch Sicalis lutea Very common PU
Greenish Yellow-Finch Sicalis olivascens One PU
Plumbeous Sierra-Finch Phrygilus unicolor Two PU
Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch Phrygilus plebejus Common PU
Grey-hooded Sierra-Finch Phrygilus gayi One Cardones NP
Black-hooded Sierra-Finch Phrygilus atriceps Only Titlara
Mourning Sierra-Finch Phrygilus fruticeti Common at altitude
Red-pileated Finch Coryphospingus cucullatus Only IG
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis Noted daily
Grassland Sparrow Ammodramus humeralis One IB
Long-tailed Reed-Finch Donacospiza albifrons Two SC
Rusty-browed Warbling-Finch Poospiza erythrophrys Only Caliligua NP
Rufous-sided Warbling-Finch Poospiza hypochondria Common Cardones NP
Black-and-Rufous Warbling-Finch Poospiza nigrorufa Only CS
Ringed warbling Finch Poospiza torquata One SA
Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch Emberizoides herbicola Two IB
Great Pampa-Finch Embernagra platensis Common in open grasslands
Hooded Siskin Carduelis magellanica Noted CS,PA & Lorenzo
European Greenfinch Carduelis chloris Very local SC
Golden-winged Cacique Cacicus chrysopterus Only SA & YU
Red-rumped Cacique Cacicus haemorrhous Common IG, also present IB
Chopi Blackbird Gnorimopsar chopi Only IB
Giant Cowbird Scaphidura oryzivora Only IG
Epaulet Oriole Icterus cayanensis Only CS & IG
Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis Common and widespread
Baywing Agelaioides badius Only CS & PA
Yellow-winged Blackbird Agelaius (Chrysomus) thilius Only CS & PA
Yellow-rumped Marshbird Pseudoleistes guirahuro Local IB
Brown-and-Yellow Marshbird Pseudoleistes virescens Only marshes PA & IB
Scarlet-headed Blackbird Amblyramphus holosericeus Common PA & IB
Long-tailed Meadowlark Sturnella loyca One Cardones NP
White-browed Blackbird Sturnella (Leistes) superciliaris Only PA
Calpeo Fox Colpeo zorro One PU
Ring-tailed Coati Nasua nasua Common IG
Brown and Gold Howler Alouatta caraya Five IB
Capuchin Monkey Cebus apella Troupe IG
Marsh Deer Blastocerus dichotomus Two IB
Vicuna Vicuna vicugna Common PU
Llama Lama glama Domestic PU
Capybara Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris At least twelve IB
Coypu Myocastor coypus Common CS and PA
Southern Mountain Cavy Microcavia australis Only PU
Common Yellow-toothed Cavy Galea musteloides Common PA and IG
Southern Yungus Squirrel Sciurus argentinus Very local, two records Caldones NP
Brown Hare Lepus australis Only at SC
Nine-banded Armadillo Dasypus novemcinctus One IB
Red-eared Terrapin Only CS
Hillary's Side-necked Turtle Noted CS and IG
Yellow Anaconda One captive IB
Snake (Liophis anomalus) One PA
Snake (Bathrops altornata) One IG
Lizard (Tropidurus sp.) Only IG
Tegu (Tupinambis teguixin) Only IG
Black Caiman Only IB
Spectacled Caiman Only IG and IB
© The Travelling Naturalist 2003