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Discover over 500 species of bird in Chile as the country is set to host the South American Bird Fair this month ( 09 October 2017 )

As the longest country in the world, Chile’s variety of landscapes combined with its climatic extremes, attract over 500 species of birds. From the deserts in the north to the glaciers of the south, birdwatching in Chile is like no other destination. As the country prepares to host the 7th annual South American Bird Fair at the end of this month, here are just a few of the many birding highlights Chile has to offer enthusiasts...

Birdwatching in the Andes, northern Chile
In the far northern part of Chile, the high altitude areas around Putre near the Peruvian border and Lauca National Park which borders Bolivia, are unique locations to enjoy species such as Andean and James’ Flamingo, Puna Tinamou, Giant Coot, Puna Ibis and Andean Avocet, among others. Birdwatching at over 4,000 metres above sea level provides unique opportunities to see some of the country’s most rare bird species, amongst the snow-capped mountains and large estuaries that are home to such a variety of wildlife. The Andean Condor is commonly spotted flying above the peaks, whilst Sandpiper-Plovers are found in the mineral-rich bogs where the sound of Seedsnipe can be heard echoing in the valley. Bird enthusiasts visiting the north of Chile can also organise tours to the Humboldt Current to look for the critically endangered Chilean Woodstar. Birding in the north of Chile can be done all year round, although it tends to be very cold during the dry season from June to August.

The endemic species of central Chile
Santiago and its surrounding areas are home to six Chilean endemic species the Chilean Tinamou, Crag Chilia, Dusky-tailed Canastero, Moustached Turca, White-throated Tapaculo and Dusky Tapaculo. These birds are often located in the foothills and mountains of the Andes, and at varying altitudes, making for exciting excursions to spot them. Around two hours east of the capital, birders can head to the El Yeso reservoir to view the Diademed Sandpiper Plover and the magnificent Andean Condor. Bird species unique to this region also include the Chilean Mockingbird, the Black-winged Ground Dove, the Grey-flanked Cinclodes and the Black-chested Buzzard Eagle. West of Santiago on Chile’s coast lies the Rio Aconcagua estuary at Con-Con where birders can spot the Many-Coloured Rush Tyrant, and Laguna Peral, just south of the port city of Valparaiso, for sightings of the Black-Necked Swan. The best time to go birding in the central regions of Chile is from September through to March when there is a Mediterranean climate.

Birding in Patagonia
The southern city of Punta Arenas is the ideal location to view a variety of Chile’s bird species. Those most commonly spotted near the coast include Flying and Flightless Steamer-Ducks, Magellanic Oystercatcher, Imperial Cormorant, Upland Goose and Chilean Skua along with the unique Dolphin Gull. For birders, Torres del Paine National Park is not to be missed, the biosphere reserve is home to around 80 species of bird and the eastern side of the park is home to waterfowl, whilst its reed-fringed pools offer rare-sightings of the re-discovered Austral Rail and the more common Cinereous Harriers. Bird enthusiasts visiting the park can also expect to see Dark-Faced Ground-Tyrant, Cinnamon-Bellied Ground-Tyrant, White-Throated Caracara and the Patagonian Mockingbird. The very rare Grey-Bellied Shrike-Tyrant has also been known to inhabit the region and a visit to the Otway Penguin colony can also be included in trips to Torres del Paine National Park. The best time to go birding in Patagonia is October through to March when the climate is drier through summer and autumn.

South American Bird Fair, 2017
Now in its seventh year, the South American Bird Fair 2017 will be hosted in the city of Puerto Varas in the Los Lagos region of central Chile from 26th – 29th October. The event welcomes bird watchers and nature enthusiasts from across the globe to participate in expert talks, field trips, workshops and book presentations among other activities. This is the first year that Chile will host the event, which will be held at the Cabaña del Lago Hotel. Registration to the fair costs US$15 (10,000 Chilean pesos) which includes access to all talks, workshops, presentations and conferences. For more information, visit

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Daniela Resenterra, PR Account Director
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Josie Self

I’ve always loved learning about people, places and culture, so after five months spent exploring Australasia and South East Asia it was only natural for me to take on a Human Geography degree. On graduation I spent my third summer working the UK festival circuit and then took a trip to Brazil before joining the Hills Balfour PR team in 2011.