BIRDING TOURS

Birds of North Patagonia

scroll
LENGTH
9 days
DIFICULTY
Easy
SEASON
October to May
START
Neuquén
END
Bariloche
HABITATS
Monte, Steppe, Wetlands, Forest, High Andes

OVERVIEW

Birding and nature photography tour covering the entire Neuquén province from north to south. Neuquén province, on northwest Patagonia, is the richest region of this huge wild area of Southern South America in terms of bird species. Here you can find 70% of the bird species registered in Patagonia, more than on any other region. Five different natural regions (Patagonian steppe, Monte, Patagonian Forest, High Andes and Wetlands) well represented in 4 National Parks, 12 IBAs (Important Bird Areas declared by Birdlife International) and 2 RAMSAR sites offer plenty of birding opportunities, including many endemics. This tour is designed to cover all these different natural regions so you can maximize your time and money and have the best possible birding experience in Patagonia while you enjoy amazing sceneries too.

Changing landscapes: steppe, araucaria forest, volcanoes, glacial lakes and mountain rivers.

HIGHLIGHT SPECIES

Monte: Elegant-crested Tinamou, Crested Gallito, Sandy Gallito, Burrowing Parrot, Vermillion Flycatcher, White-tipped Plantcutter, Carbonated Sierra-Finch.

Steppe: Lesser Rhea, Rusty-backed Monjita, White-throated Cacholote, Patagonian Mockigbird, Band-tailed Earthcreeper, Patagonian Canastero, Least Seedsnipe, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Torrent Duck.

Wetlands: Chilean Flamingo, Black-necked Swan, White-faced Ibis, Spectacled Duck, Silvery Grebe, Black-faced Ibis, Ashy-headed Goose, Wren-like Rushbird, Many-colored Rush-Tyrant.

Forest: Magellanic Woodpecker, Chucao Tapaculo, Black-throated Huet-Huet, Ochre-flanked Tapaculo, Andean Tapaculo, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, White-throated Treerunner, Des Mur's Wiretail, Patagonian Sierra Finch, Austral Parakeet.

High Andes: Andean Condor, Yellow-bridled Finch, Plumbeous Sierra-Finch, White-throated Caracara, Black-faced Ground-Tyrant, Ochre-naped Ground-Tyrant, Rufous-banded Miner, White-bellied Seedsnipe.

ITINERARY & TARGET SPECIES

DAY 1. NEUQUEN – ZAPALA

Reception in the morning at Neuquén City airport or bus station. From there we will take an hour drive to Lago Pellegrini, an artificial lake made to regulate the flow of Neuquén River. The area is a great example of the Monte ecoregion, so apart of lots of aquatic birds there we will search for exclusive species of the Monte region, like Crested Gallito, Vermillion Flycatcher and White-tipped Plantcutter. On the afternoon we drive to Zapala, where we will overnight.

DAY 2. ZAPALA – CHOS MALAL

We will spend the morning birding at La Solitaria lagoon, a few minutes away from Zapala, where we can find Chilean Flamingo, Black-neck Swan, Coscoroba Swan as well as plovers, sandpipers and pharalopes. We will continue covering the rural areas around ins search of Patagonian steppe species like Lesser Rhea, Elegant Crested-Tinamou, Sandy Gallito, White-throated Cacholote and Band-tailed Earthcreeper. In the afternoon we will take Route 40 and drive to Chos Malal, the biggest town of northern Neuquen, where we will spend the night.

Lesser Rhea
Lesser Rhea

DAY 3. TROMEN LAKE

We will spend the full day at Tromen Lake Provincial Reserve, 40 km away from Chos Malal. Here we will find great samples of the Patagonian steppe and high-Andean ecoregions, as well as the aquatic environments of the Tromen lagoon, by the foot of the northeast slope of Tromen volcano and bañado de los Barros. This is a RAMSAR site, being a key nesting area of waterfowl such as Black-headed Swan, Chilean Flamingo, Coscoroba Swan, White-tufted Grebe, Silvery Grebe, Upland Goose, Andean Ruddy Duck, Lake Duck, Southern Wigeon, Red Shoveler, South American Stilt and Andean Gull, among others. The lagoon is also a migratory stopover of birds that nest in the northern hemisphere and spend the winter (southern summer) in South America, such us Baird’s Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs and Wilson’s Phalarope. On the slopes of Wayle and Tormen volcanos, we will also look for altitude species like several Miners and Ground-Tyrants and the Greater Yellow-Finch.

Tromen Lake
Tromen Lake

DAY 4. LAGUNAS DE EPU LAUQUEN

We will drive from Chos Malal to another provincial reserve, Lagunas de Epu Lauquen. First, we will pass by Las Ovejas, the only place in Argentina where we can find the Chilean Mockingbird. Then we will follow the course of Nahueve River, where we will search for the Torrent Duck. Once we arrive at Epu Lauquen we will hike the trails around the lagoon searching for another Chilean species that can only be found in this specific spot in Argentina, the Chesnut-throated Huet-Huet. Another target species there will be Andean Gull, White-throated Hawk, Mountain Caracara and Aplomado Falcon.

Torrent Duck
Torrent Duck

DAY 5. CHOS MALAL – VILLA PEHUENIA

From Chos Malal we will take Route 40 again and head southwest to Villa Pehuenia. Along the way, we will have good chances for Burrowing Parrot, Great Shrike-Tyrant, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Carbonated Sierra-Finch and Patagonian Mockinbird. At Pino Hachado, meters away from the Chilean border we will enter the Araucaria (Monkey-puzzle Tree) forest, where we will look for Austral Parakeet, Spectacled Duck, Black-winged Ground-Dove and Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant. Once in Villa Pehuenia, a gorgeous touristic village by the Aluminé Lake and surrounded by Araucaria forest we will look for Andean Gull, Ashy-headed Geese, Neotropic Cormorant, Lake Duck and Tufted Grebe.

DAY 6. VILLA PEHUENIA – JUNIN DE LOS ANDES

From Villa Pehuenia we will take the route south along Aluminé River to Pilo Lil, a wonderful site with eroded basaltic rock formations. On the way, we can find Long-tailed Meadowlark, Spectacled Tyrant, Ashy-headed Geese, American Kestrel and Southern crested-Caracara. Then we will follow the dirt road to Malleo River, on a steppe environment where we will have new chances for Great Shrike-Tyrant, Patagonian Mockingbird and Scale-throated Earthcreeper. We will continue following the course of Malleo River to the base of Lanin volcano, where we will hike through the woods of Southern Beeches and Araucarias, looking for endemics birds of the Andean-Patagonian forest: Thorn-tailed Rayadito, White-throated Treerunner, Patagonian Sierra Finch, Chucao Tapaculo, Black-throated Huet-Huet and the iconic Magellanic Woodpecker. On the afternoon we will drive to the town of Junin de los Andes, where we will overnight.

Magellanic Woodpecker
Magellanic Woodpecker

DAY 7. COLLON CURA RIVER VALLEY

We will leave Junín early in the morning to drive along the Collon Cura River, probably the most important birding hotspot in northern Patagonia. Passing by Junín de los Andes we will stop at some small lagoons on the side of the road, looking for Grass Wren, Wren-like Rushbird, Many-colored Rush-Tyrant and Bay-winged Cowbird. On the road down to the river, we can see Guanacos, a Patagonian camelid. Once we cross Collón Cura River we will drive along its course for almost 40 km, stopping at some key spots where we can find Yellow-winged Cowbird, Tufted Tit-Tyrant, Warbling Doradito, Spectacled Tyrant, Sooty Tyrannulet, Grey-hooded Sierra Finch and Plumbeous Rail, among others. Lastly, we will take a dirt road over a plateau looking for specific steppe birds such us Lesser Rhea, Patagonian Mockingbird, Rusty-backed Monjita, Great-Shike Tyrant, Patagonia Canastero, Band-tailed Earthcreeper, Rufous-banded Miner and Least Seedsnipe. In the afternoon we will drive to San Martín de los Andes, where we will spend the night.

Many-colored Rush-Tyrant
Many-colored Rush-Tyrant

DAY 8. LAGUNA ROSALES

Early in the morning, we will do a soft hike around this gorgeous lagoon in Lanin National Park, just a few minutes away from San Martín de los Andes. The trail is part of Huella Andina a net of trails that connect the different national parks of the Andean Patagonia. Along the way we will go through several environments: open areas of transition from steppe to forest with prevalence of shrubs and grasslands, Patagonian forest patches and meadows and aquatic environments in the lagoon and its surrounding areas. We can find several Patagonia endemics, such as Ashy-headed Geese, Black-faced Ibis, Chilean Flicker, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, White-throated tree-runner, Chucao Tapaculo, Black-throated Huet-Huet, White-crested Elaenia, Patagonian Sierra-Finch, Fire-eyed Diucon, Patagonian Tyrant and Des Mur’s Wiretail. In the afternoon we will have some free time to spend in the town.

DAY 9. CERRO CHAPELCO AND DRIVE TO BARILOCHE

We will leave San Martin early in the morning and head to cerro Chapelco, a rocky mountain mass stretching for more than 20 km from San Martin de los Andes to Meliquina Lake. We will hike through the high Southern Beech forest up over the timberline towards the high-Andean grasslands, searching for altitude species like Yellow-bridled Finch, Plumbeous Sierra-Finch, White-throated Caracara and several Ground Tyrants and Miners. After a picnic on the grasslands, we will go down and take the vehicle back to drive the Seven Lakes Route to Bariloche, where we will end our tour.

MAP

Related Programs

Newsletter

Subscribe and receive news and promotions by email

Contact Us

To make reservations or inquiries contact us

CONTACT US
Patagonian Wild