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SOUTHERN & CENTRAL ARGENTINA

Birdquest's Southern & Central Argentina birding tour is a classic South America birdwatching experience. Our Southern & Central Argentina tour provides very comprehensive coverage and produces an extraordinary number of regional endemics and other specialities.

Monday 27th November — Monday 11th December 2017
(15 days)


Tierra del Fuego Extension: Monday 11th December — Friday 15th December (5 days)

Córdoba Extension: Friday 24th November — Monday 27th November (4 days)

Leader: Mark Pearman

Group Size Limit: 9

Tour Category: Easy walking for the most part and comfortable accommodations

The huge and stunning Magellanic Woodpecker is one of the most highly-sought species of the southern beech forests. They are often located by their double rap drum, which sounds almost like a shotgun! (Andy Livermore) For more photos from Southern Argentina, please see our other tours there.

The huge and stunning Magellanic Woodpecker is one of the most highly-sought species of the southern beech forests. They are often located by their double rap drum, which sounds almost like a shotgun! (Andy Livermore) For more photos from Southern Argentina, please see our other tours there.

Argentina is the eighth largest country in the world – almost a third the size of Europe! Stretching for over 2200 miles (3500 km) from the Bolivian border to the sub-Antarctic coasts of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina possesses an enormous variety of landforms and climates which is reflected in its great diversity of wildlife. Argentina is a classic destination, undoubtedly one of the best birding countries in the world, not only offering superb, mostly easy birding but also good accommodations, food, transport and roads.

Over 1000 species of birds have been recorded, an amazingly high total for a country which lies almost entirely outside the tropics and thus cannot boast any lowland tropical rainforest. With its fantastic scenery and marvellous and generally easy, open-country birding, ranging from impressive avian spectacles to a host of endemic species, Southern and Central Argentina is definitely one of the greatest birding journeys one can undertake. The contrasts are extreme, ranging from the arid landscapes of the Córdoba region of central Argentina to the wild moorlands, mountains and fjords of Tierra del Fuego in the far south, and from the humid grasslands of the pampas and the windswept, semi-desert plateau of Patagonia in the east and southeast to the icy, snow-clad peaks of the Andes with their glaciers, mountain lakes and forests of breathtaking beauty in the west.

For the birdwatcher, Southern and Central Argentina provides an overwhelming variety of novel and spectacular experiences: rheas, tinamous, a great variety of seabirds (including penguins in their tens of thousands, albatrosses and diving-petrels), flamingos, most of South America’s wildfowl, Andean Condor, some superb shorebirds including Magellanic Plover (now treated as a monotypic bird family), seedsnipes, Snowy (or Pale-faced) Sheathbill, a bewildering array of ovenbirds with evocative names (miners, earthcreepers, cinclodes, horneros, cacholotes, spinetails, canasteros, thornbirds, rayaditos and treerunners), a plethora of tyrant-flycatchers and an exceptional assortment of finches and icterids, never mind the seals and whales!

Ours is the most comprehensive tour of Southern & Central Argentina available, producing more of the speciality birds than any other.

Our journey will take us from the pampas of the Buenos Aires region to the far south of the country so that we can experience this diversity to its full as we seek out some of the continent's most spectacular birds amidst some of the world's finest scenery.

During the first part of our Argentine adventure we will explore the famous Pampas. After starting in Buenos Aires region, where we will look for Red-and-white Crake, Straight-billed Reedhaunter and many other birds, we will explore the pampas of Buenos Aires province around San Clemente del Tuyu with its great abundance and variety of wetland and grassland birds, including South American Painted Snipe, Olrog’s Gull, White-throated Hummingbird, Hudson’s Canastero and Bay-capped Wren-Spinetail.

Eventually we working our way south to Bahia Blanca for the rare and threatened endemic Pampas Meadowlark and Pampas Pipit, and San Antonio Oeste for yet more endemics or near-endemics, including Hudson’s Black-Tyrant, Carbonated Sierra-Finch, Cinnamon Warbling-Finch and the rare Yellow Cardinal.

Travelling still further south, we will reach Puerto Pirámides on the windswept Patagonian coast of Chubut province, where the highlight of our stay will be the vast penguin colony at Punta Tombo (nearly a million birds!), and the impressive concentrations of seabirds and marine mammals at the Valdés Peninsula, never mind another great collection of endemics and regional specialities, including Lesser Rhea, Darwin’s Nothura, Elegant Crested-Tinamou, Chubut Steamer-Duck, Snowy Sheathbill, Band-tailed Earthcreeper, Patagonian Canastero, Lesser (or Least) Shrike-Tyrant, Rusty-backed Monjita, Short-billed Pipit, Patagonian Mockingbird and Patagonian Yellow-Finch.

Finally we will explore southern Patagonia, penetrating far into the interior to visit sites for the critically endangered endemic Hooded Grebe, the rare Austral Rail, the strange Magellanic Plover, Patagonian Tinamou, Tawny-throated Dotterel and Chocolate-vented Tyrant.

We will also enjoy the outstanding scenic grandeur of the El Chaltén region, where the high peaks lakes and humid southern beech forest are inhabited by Bronze-winged (or Spectacled) Duck, Andean Condor, Austral Parakeet, Rufous-legged Owl, Austral Pygmy Owl, Chilean Flicker, Rufous-tailed Plantcutter, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, Chilean Elaenia, Fire-eyed Diucon, Chilean Swallow, Austral Thrush and Austral Blackbird. Argentina is so spectacular a country, and the birding so enjoyable, that we are going to find it hard to leave after experiencing it for ourselves!

During the optional post-tour extension we continue to the island of Tierra del Fuego, at the very tip of South America. Here we will explore the grasslands and wetlands of northern Tierra del Fuego, home of the endangered Ruddy-headed Goose, Rufous-chested Dotterel, Two-banded Plover, the Magellanic form of the South American Snipe (which may represent a distinct species), Short-billed Miner, Austral Canastero and Cinnamon-bellied Ground-Tyrant.

Moving further south, we will be able to admire the spectacular landscapes around Ushuaia, the most southerly city in the world, as we look for Kelp and Ashy-headed Geese, Flying and Fuegian (or Flightless) Steamerducks, White-throated Caracara, Magellanic Oystercatcher, White-bellied Seedsnipe, Dark-bellied Cinclodes, Black-chinned Siskin, Patagonian Sierra-Finch and the uncommon Yellow-bridled Finch, while a boat trip in the Beagle Channel should produce Gentoo Penguin, Black-browed Albatross and Magellanic Diving-Petrel.

The optional pre-tour extension will see us exploring the isolated and little known Sierra de los Comechingones in the Córdoba region, where we should find three highly localized endemic ovenbirds, Olrog’s and Córdoba Cinclodes, and Córdoba Canastero, and the saline flats of Salinas Grandes, home of the endemic Salinas Monjita. We will also check out some woodland for the rare Black-bodied Woodpecker.

Birdquest has operated tours to Argentina since 1989.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels are of good or medium standard throughout. Road transport is by small coach or minibus and roads are mostly good.

Walking etc: The walking effort is mostly easy, but there are some moderate walks. During the Tierra del Fuego extension there will be one rather hard uphill hike in search of White-bellied Seedsnipe. There are some long drives.

Climate: Rather variable. Temperatures will range from warm or hot in the pampas to cool or even cold in the south. Sunshine is likely to alternate with overcast conditions and we are likely to see some rain (or possibly even snow at high altitude in the far south). It will be rather humid in the pampas and it is often windy in the south.

Bird Photography: Opportunities are good.

Important Information for Pound Payers: Kindly note that the Pound prices shown here are based on post-EU-referendum exchange rate reality, unlike the website prices of most UK bird tour operators which are still based on outdated and hugely higher pre-referendum exchange rates. Consequently you can rest assured that we will not have to adjust these prices upwards at invoicing, unless the Pound falls significantly further, and if there is any recovery by the Pound you will receive the full benefit of the cost-saving by way of a price reduction at invoicing.

Tour Price: £4890, €5770, $6410 Buenos Aires/El Calafate. Tierra del Fuego Extension: £1590, €1870, $2080 (ending in Ushuaia). Córdoba Extension: £1090, €1290, $1430 (starting in Córdoba).

Price includes all transportation (including specified flights inside Argentina), all accommodations, all meals, bottled water, some drinks, all excursions, all entrance fees, all tips for local drivers/guides and for accommodations/restaurants, leader services.

Base prices for this tour are determined in US Dollars, the currency in which we pay for most tour services. The exchange rates applied at the time of costing were: £1 = $1.310 and €1 = $1.110. For those not paying us in US Dollars, prices may be adjusted (either downwards or upwards) at the time of invoicing should there be a change in the exchange rate. See booking information.

Single Room Supplement: £570, €673, $747. Tierra del Fuego Extension: £184, €217, $241. Córdoba Extension: £114, €134, $149.

Deposit: £500, €700, $750. Tierra del Fuego Extension: £150, €200, $250. Córdoba Extension: £100, €150, $150.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency can arrange your air travel in connection with the tour from a departure point anywhere in the world, or you may arrange your own air travel if you prefer. We can tailor-make your itinerary to your personal requirements, so if you would like to travel in advance of the tour (and spend a night in an hotel so you will feel fresh when the tour starts), or return later than the end of the tour, or make a side trip to some other destination, or travel business class rather than economy, we will be happy to assist. Please contact us about your air travel requirements.

Time spent at a Magellanic Penguin colony is always enjoyable! (Andy Livermore)

Time spent at a Magellanic Penguin colony is always enjoyable! (Andy Livermore)

A Lesser Rhea jealously guards his offspring (Andy Livermore)

A Lesser Rhea jealously guards his offspring (Andy Livermore)

Snowy Sheathbills can be found surprisingly far north along the coast, scavenging for whatever they can find! (Andy Livermore)

Snowy Sheathbills can be found surprisingly far north along the coast, scavenging for whatever they can find! (Andy Livermore)

82 photos View Gallery Photos From SOUTHERN & CENTRAL ARGENTINA
The attractive and distinctive Thorn-tailed Ryadito is another inhabitant of the southern forests (Andy Livermore)

The attractive and distinctive Thorn-tailed Ryadito is another inhabitant of the southern forests (Andy Livermore)

The declining Andean Condor is still pleasingly common at the southern end of its range (Andy Livermore)

The declining Andean Condor is still pleasingly common at the southern end of its range (Andy Livermore)

The magnificent Hooded Grebe is one of the most highly-prized Southern Cone endemics (Andy Livermore)

The magnificent Hooded Grebe is one of the most highly-prized Southern Cone endemics (Andy Livermore)

An interesting selection of wildfowl in the south includes the rare Ruddy-headed Goose (Andy Livermore)

An interesting selection of wildfowl in the south includes the rare Ruddy-headed Goose (Andy Livermore)

... and the similar Ashy-headed Goose (Andy Livermore)

... and the similar Ashy-headed Goose (Andy Livermore)

The strange Spot-winged Falconet is a real treat on this tour (Andy Livermore)

The strange Spot-winged Falconet is a real treat on this tour (Andy Livermore)

The attractive Elegant Crested Tinamou is one of the showier members of its family (Andy Livermore)

The attractive Elegant Crested Tinamou is one of the showier members of its family (Andy Livermore)

The localized Olrog's Gull usually shows well (Andy Livermore)

The localized Olrog's Gull usually shows well (Andy Livermore)

Long-winged Harrier is an attractive inhabitant of the pampas (Andy Livermore)

Long-winged Harrier is an attractive inhabitant of the pampas (Andy Livermore)

Interesting mammals include Humboldt’s Hog-nosed Skunk (Andy Livermore)

Interesting mammals include Humboldt’s Hog-nosed Skunk (Andy Livermore)

Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate

Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QY

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