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Birds of Patagonia

Birds of Patagonia

The main purpose of my visit to Patagonia was seeing puma’s. That worked out fine, but of course I always do my best to see birds as well. Patagonia has some really cool specialties like Magellanic Plover and Magellanic Woodpecker. This blog however does not concern these species because I couldn’t find them… Luckily there are also other interesting birds, I will show a selection of my photo’s below and I’ll say something about them.

A very nice bird was Great Grebe, the largest grebe in the world. We found a nice pair on a quiet lake. These are those nice birding moments, lying at the edge of the water and watch the grebes get closer and closer…

While we were photographing grebes a Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle watched attentively. This bird is striking in flight because it has a very short tail.

When you’re talking about birds of prey you can’t ignore caracara’s in South-America. Patagonia has four species of which I saw three. Below you can see the most common birds. The Southern Crested Caracara is a bird that occurs throughout South-America, the Chimango is more of a Chilean specialty.

Chimango Caracara

Southern Crested Caracara

Another bird that likes carrion and is an iconic species is the Andean Condor. Sadly I didn’t see them up close but they remain impressive birds.

The Aplomado Falcon is the South-American equivalent of the Peregrine Falcon, although Peregrine also occurs on this continent. I had a bird that didn’t fly away on Tierra del Fuego, that never happens to me with Peregrines in the Netherlands!

As a birder you have a really good time when walking next to the water. It starts with the flamingo’s, Chile has three species of flamingo two of which only occur in the Andes. The Chilean Flamingo can however also be admired against the snowy peaks of Patagonia.

Next to this Chile has no less than four species of cormorant, three of which occur in Patagonia. The Neotropic Cormorant doesn’t look that spectacular, the Imperial Shag however is striking with a beautiful long crest. The Magellanic Cormorant is a Patagonian specialty and luckily I also saw that one.

Neotropical Cormorant

Imperial shag

Magellanic cormorant

Next to this there is of course a lot more to find in the water. There are two swans, Black-necked Swan and Coscoroba Swan. The Coscoroba is the smallest swan in the world and has a unusually shaped bill.

Black-necked swan

Coscoroba swan

Steamerducks are indeed like steamers. They are big ducks that barely fly (one species actually can’t) but steadily paddle away.

A bit larger still are the geese. The Upland Goose is a common species that can be mainly found on the grass. The Kelp Goose is more at the edge of the water, it’s a white goose but so much more refined then those geese that occupy parks!

Male Upland Goose flanked by two females

Male Kelp Goose

Finally there are the waterbirds that can fly really well. The Dolphin Gull is a pretty gull and a nice specialty. Next to that there is the Black-browed Albatross, a bird that is a true dreamspecies in my home country and also my first albatross. Another nice big seabird is the Southern Giant Petrel, that one I won’t ever see in the Netherlands.

Dolphin Gull

Black-browed Albatross

Southern Giant Petrel

To finish I’ve got some smaller birds. The Long-tailed Meadowlark is a beautiful bird that is very common in Patagonia. The Fire-eyed Diucon is also common and has rather plain colours but a striking red eye. The Rufous-collared Sparrow is not exactly a Patagonian specialty, they really do occur everywhere in South-America, but with the snow it’s a nice picture. The Patagonian Sierra Finch sounds like a true Patagonian specialty, but it also occurs outside of it.

Long-tailed Meadowlark

Fire-eyed Diucon

Rusty-collared Sparrow

Patagonian Sierra Finch

Last but not least a larger bird: Lesser Rhea! This is a big walkingbird that can’t fly.


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