Penguin reserves can be found throughout Chilean Patagonia, from Punta Arenas and Ushuaia to Peninsula Valdes, and Chiloe Island. Magellanic penguins are the most widespread of the breeds to be found in Patagonia, but it is also possible to see Humboldt penguins, gentoo penguins, and even king Penguins.
The Andean condor (from the vulture family) can be found throughout Patagonia. Often seen circling the iconic Torres del Paine, or above Laguna Armaga, swooping down to feast on the remains of a puma's guanaco kill. This impressive bird has a wing span of 3.2 metres, the largest of any land bird. It is currently considered as 'nearly endangered' by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The magellanic woodpecker has a shiny black body with a white 'V' on it's back, a white underwig patch and a yellow iris. The male has a scarlet red head whilst the female's is black. You can locate this large woodpecker by their loud, two note hammering drum or their two syllable call. The magellanic woodpecker can be found in the Nothofagus and Nothofagus-Austrocedrus forests of Bernardo O'Higgins National Park or along the Beagle Channel in Magallanes.
Also known as Darwin's rhea, the brownish-grey lesser rhea can run at up to speeds of 37 miles per hour. They have long, yellow legs and a dark horn bill. To flew danger they will run in a zig zag pattern or squat in vegetation to hide. In breeding season the males will use feather fluffing displays and deep calls to attract the hens. Several hens can mate with a successful male, leaving him with 20-30 eggs to incubate. The male will then raise the chicks, rounding them all up with whistling calls. If any chicks stray away, another male with his own young will adopt the lost chick.
This cute little owl has quite a big head, yellow eyes and a long tail. They are nocturnal and feed on small mammals, birds, reptiles and insects, sometimes taking prey bigger than themselves with their sharp, powerful talons. The pygmy-owl's small size makes it difficult to spot but you might locate one by the shrill, half screeching call when setting out to hunt at dusk. Pygmy-owl's can be found in city parks, Nothofagus forests and farmlands.
The black necked swan has a white body and a red caruncle on a blue-grey bill. They feed on aquatic vegetation by sticking their neck and head underwater. Little white cygnets are often seen riding on a parent's back in chick raising season.
The black-faced ibis is stocky and brightly plumaged and has a long, decurved black bill with a horn-coloured tip. They have a loud, clanking call and feed on frogs, worms and other aquatic life. They nest in groups of 10 to 30 pairs and builds a large nest out of twigs and vegetation, which can be seen in treetops, cliff edges or reedbeds. The black-faced ibis can be found in meadows, marshes and newly plowed fields.
The upland goose breeds in great numbers on the semiarid pampas of Argentina. It lays 5-8 eggs in a down-lined nest of long grass. The male has a white head and a black and white body. The female has a brown head bending in to a black and white body. They are often seen gazing amongst sheep on ranches but are also found on the open plains, farmland and coasts of channels and bays.
Torrent ducks have a long stiff tail and claws at the joins of their wings. They are found along fast-flowing rivers where they swim against the strong current with ease. They use their narrow, flexible bill's to pick food from the cracks and crevices of submerged rocks. The males have a high-pitched whistle, which can be heard over the sound of rushing water.
A guided birding tour will give you the best advantage to spot a lot of different species. The guides are knowledgable and know where to find the birds.
The southern caracara is a aggressive and merciless hunter of small mammals, young birds and bird eggs, snakes, grubs and even newborn lambs. Their call is a percussive rattle which sounds like a stick being beaten on a hollow branch. They are often seen at carrion with vultures and can also be found in open fields, sheep ranches and woodland.
The chimango caracara has a buoyant flight and rarely soars. They nest in upper branches of low trees or hidden spots in the grass in treeless areas and lay a clutch of 2 to 6 red-speckled, creamy white eggs. Noisy groups of these birds can be found scavenging on the ground at open markets, in garbage dumps or fields being plowed.
This rayadito's characteristic tail ends in bare shafts, the central tail feathers are black whilst the outer has rufuos tips. These little forest-dwellers place their nests of small twigs and soft grass in cracks or crevices between the trunk and bark of forest trees. They search tree bark and foliage for insects to eat.
The rufous-collard sparrow can be found in lowland or montane scrub. They have grey heads with two broad black crown stripes and a prominent rufous collar. These little sparrows are very used to human presence and are commonly seen in urban areas. They can be found hopping on open ground as they forage for seeds and insects or singing from a prominent perch on a shrub or rock.
The long-tailed meadowlark lives in pairs or small groups and sometimes forms bigger flocks in winter. They nod and bob as they forage on the ground for beetles, small crustaceans, seeds and small bulbs of wild plants. They perch in the open on fence posts, rocks or on top of shrubbery. These little meadowlarks sing mostly in the evening when they throw back their head, puff out their throat feathers and give it some. Their song is a long, harsh and repetitive chee chee cheerie. They are commonly found in farmland, livestock pastures, damp meadows or steppe.
Austral Parakeet's form small flocks that forage together in trees and bushes. They feed on seeds, fruit, berries and buds, occasionally forages on the ground for dandelions, grass seeds, roots and bulbous plants. They nest in dead tree cavities, or build a nest of sticks in branches if tree holes aren't available. These parakeets can be found in forests, open woodland and farmed fields.
The Austral Negrito is a small tyrant flycatcher who will breed in southern Chile and Argentina before flying further north for winter. This little bird is strongly terrestrial and can be found in open areas such as farmland and beaches.
Southern lapwings are found in fields and wetlands and also take up residence in meadows, parks and gardens in urban areas. They feed mainly on insects making them very beneficial to agriculture. The lapwings strident metallic call alerts everyone and everything around them to perceived danger. The lay 3-4 large pear-shaped eggs and chicks will feed independently just a few hours after hatching.
The rufous-legged owl is known in the Swoop office as Tom's owl because of Tom's excitement in seeing one in the Pingo Valley in Torres del Paine. These dark-eyed owls live in dense woods and rainforests such as the closed canopy Nothofagus forests. Their call is sonorous and hooting.
(c) Rodrigo Tapia (c) Bastian Gygli
Birding Trips in Patagonia
Patagonia was the place I found my real love for birds. There are so many to see, each time I return a new birding adventure begins.
Sally Dodge Patagonia Specialist
More Patagonian Wildlife
Whale Watching in Patagonia
The waters around Patagonia are home to four types of whales: the orca, humpback, southern right and the blue whale. There are a number of dedicated whale watching cruises and boat…
Patagonia is an incredible place to see Penguins ('Pinguinos' in Spanish), and there are a surprising variety of species too! You'll find penguin reserves throughout Patagonia, …
Puma Tracking in Patagonia
Torres del Paine is home to a growing population of the elusive Puma. We work with responsible guides to give you great wildlife experiences while protecting the animals' habitat.
In addition to it's famous pumas, penguins and whales, Patagonia has to an abundance of other wildlife. Home to the worlds smallest deer, over-sized rodents and endangered wild …
Patagonia is an area of fabulous biodiversity, home to many species classified as endangered or vulnerable. We work with carefully selected local partners to get you close to the animals in the wild without risk to their environment. The season and the region will determine what Patagonian wildlife you'll encounter.