Argentina - October 2010


This trip was a continuation of our South American trip and followed on from the trip to Peru. We were flying back from Lima via Buenos Aires and had a three night stopover in Argentina.

Andes Mountains

The change in flight routings was made three weeks prior to our departure from Australia so there was some last minute organisation required for a birding trip in Argentina.  Diego Gallegos of BAB - Buenos Aires Birding ( kindly undertook to arrange a trip at short notice.

Our objectives for the short time in Argentina were to do some relaxing birding, get to see the countryside and stay in some good accommodation.

We agreed on a trip up north of Buenos Aires taking us across the Rio Paraná and then onto Rio Uruguay to the city of Gualeguaychú in the province of Entre Ríos, which is on the border with Uruguay.

The Rio Paraná and Rio Uruguay feed into the Rio de la Plata (River of Silver), which is well known for the early World War II naval engagement. The Battle of the River Plate between the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee and British and New Zealand ships, started several miles off the coast of the estuary. The German ship retired up the estuary and put into port at Montevideo. A few days later, rather than fight outgunned, she was scuttled in the estuary.

The area we were visiting is known as Pampas country which in Quechua, the language of the Incas, means open or empty space between mountains. Spanish conquistadores used the word Pampas to name the vast extension of flat grassland around Buenos Aires. The Pampas includes the 750,000 square kilometres of fertile lowland grass plains plus also marshland, swamps and patches of forests.

13th OctoberThe flight from Lima to Buenos Aires was very pleasant, a 4.5 hour flight leaving at 8:35am and arriving at 3:05pm, with good views as we crossed the Andes. Visas are available on arrival and Australian tourists are charged a “reciprocity fee” of US$100, which is equivalent to the cost of a visa for an Argentinean visiting Australia.

We were met by Diego Gallegos and headed up to the northern suburbs of Buenos Aires to Refugio de la Ribera Norte located in San Isidro. This is a very pleasant area, being one of the more affluent suburbs of Buenos Aires and has very civilised European feel to it.  

Refugio de la Ribera Norte is a small wetland which has a very high diversity of flora and fauna, located on the shores of the Rio de la Plata river. We spent about an hour there after arriving at 5pm and saw close to 30 birds with highlights being Rufous-sided Crake, Gilded Sapphire and Rufous-browed Peppershrike. Yvonne located a Spotted Rail which we had good views of and this was a lifer for Diego.

After a good introduction to some Argentinean birds we drove up to La Posesiva ( which is about 100km north west from Buenos Aires. La Posesiva is a lovely place to stay on a large farm with good accommodation and excellent food. We were well looked after by our hosts and made to feel most welcome.

Diego and Bruce at La Posesiva

14th OctoberDiego and I had a walk around the farm in the morning to find some birds before breakfast, which included Chalk-browed Mockingbird, Saffron Finch, Southern-crested and Chimango Caracara. Also had Glittering-bellied Emerald (hummingbird) in the aloe flowers at the farm stay.

After breakfast we headed across the Rio Paraná, this is a huge river system, into Entre Ríos and on towards Villa Paranacito. The name Entre Ríos, literally means “Between Rivers”,and is the province flanked by two major rivers, Paraná and Uruguay.

This area consists of shallow wetlands on either side of the road, open grassland and acacia type thorn-trees. The area has rich soils, temperate climate and good rainfall, all of which support the proliferation of a varied flora and fauna, and the development of extensive agriculture and stockbreeding. Birds also abundant both in terms of number of species and also quantity of birds seen. 

Southern Lapwing

We spent most of the day in the area from 9am though to 4pm and saw 98 species of birds with many highlights.  Some of the birds which stood out were the Spotted Nothura, Giant Wood Rail, Maguari Stork, Red-crested and Yellow-billed Cardinal, Southern Screamer, Yellow-throated Spinetail, Sayaca Tanager and Scarlet-headed Blackbird. 

Green-backed Becard
We then headed off to Itapeby ( which was to be our home for the next two nights. What a lovely place to stay, wonderful food and fantastic hosts. Had farm fresh lamb roast with all the trimmings that evening, what a meal.

Bruce, Yvonne, Poppy, Rodolfo and Diego

As we were driving up to the farm stay we saw some Burrowing Owl on the side of the road, which was very nice.

Burrowing Owl

15th OctoberDiego and I birded around the farm in the morning till 9:30am and saw just under 40 birds, which included Monk Parrots on the lawn, Brown Cacholote, Sooty-fronted Spinetail and Red Pileated Finch. After that Diego and I headed out to Nandubaysel for some birding whilst Yvonne went into town with Poppy our host for some shopping for clothes. The clothes in Argentina are very elegant and the quality of the leatherwork is excellent.   

Monk Parrots

Nandubaysel is a camping area on Rio Uruguay and has some good riverine habitat. We saw just over 40 birds in the morning including highlights such as Grey-necked Woodrail,  Checkered Woodpecker, Tropical Parula, Spix’s Spinetail and Golden-billed Saltator.

Creamy-bellied Thrush

After lunch in town with Yvonne and Poppy, we headed out to Termas del Guaychu hot springs just outside of Gualeguaychú. Some good thorn bush birding with the South American Snipe, Firewood-Gatherer, Rufous Hornero and Nacunda Nighthawk being some of the highlights. The Rufous Hornero builds a large nest of mud which looks like an oven.

Rufous Hornero Nest
After that we went back to Nandubaysel stopping at various places along the road. The one spot had a lake and some good water birds such as Rosy-billed Pochard, Yellow-billed Pintail, Ringed Teal, Brazilian Teal, White-faced Whistling Duck and White-backed Stilt. For the day we saw 94 birds which had some interesting birds and the birding was far easier than in the forests of Peru. 
Rufous-bellied Thrush

Back to Itapeby at about 7pm for another great meal. Lots of fireflies out in the evening lighting up the path down to the main house.

Accommodation at Itapeby

16th October – We had a 2pm flight out of Buenos Aires direct to Sydney, so left after breakfast for the airport. Stopped off at a wetlands at Universidad Ciudad (University of Buenos Aires) to see the Nanday Parakeet and then onto the airport.  Saw just over 40 birds for the morning, most as we were driving.


We really enjoyed Argentina and need to go back again for at least two or three weeks. Argentina is such a large country with the Andes on the west, the hot tropical areas to the north and the cold southern regions, that one needs a lot of time to explore the country fully. We found that our hosts were very friendly and went out of their way to make us feel at home.

As regards the birds, I saw 148 birds in just over two days birding, of which 92 were lifers. This was quite surprising given that we had just spent close to three weeks in Peru and I wasn’t expecting to see so many new birds. Diego Gallegos also looked after us very well, was easy to get on with and a great birder.

The full list of the 148 birds seen during the trip, including subspecies according to the IOC taxonomy, is as follows:

Tinamous (Tinamidae)

Spotted Nothura [sp] (Nothura maculosa)


Rheas (Rheidae)

Greater Rhea [sp] (Rhea americana)


Screamers (Anhimidae)

Southern Screamer (Chauna torquata)

Ducks, Geese & swans (Anatidae)

White-faced Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna viduata)

Fulvous Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna bicolor)

Coscoroba Swan (Coscoroba coscoroba)

Brazilian Teal [sp] (Amazonetta brasiliensis)

Ringed Teal (Callonetta leucophrys)

Red Shoveler (Anas platalea)

White-cheeked Pintail [sp] (Anas bahamensis)

Yellow-billed Teal [sp] (Anas flavirostris)

Yellow-billed Pintail [sp] (Anas georgica)

Silver Teal [sp] (Anas versicolor)

Rosy-billed Pochard (Netta peposaca)


Grebes (Podicipedidae)

Pied-billed Grebe [sp] (Podilymbus podiceps)

Great Grebe [sp] (Podiceps major)


Storks (Ciconiidae)

Maguari Stork (Ciconia maguari)


Ibises, Spoonbills (Threskiornithidae)

Bare-faced Ibis [sp] (Phimosus infuscatus)

White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi)

Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja)

Herons, Bitterns (Ardeidae)

Rufescent Tiger Heron [sp] (Tigrisoma lineatum)

Black-crowned Night Heron [sp] (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Striated Heron [sp] (Butorides striata)

Western Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)

Cocoi Heron (Ardea cocoi)

American Great Egret (Ardea alba egretta)

Whistling Heron [sp] (Syrigma sibilatrix)

Snowy Egret [sp] (Egretta thula)


Cormorants, Shags (Phalacrocoracidae)

Neotropic Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)


Kites, Hawks & Eagles (Accipitridae)

White-tailed Kite [sp] (Elanus leucurus)

Snail Kite [sp] (Rostrhamus sociabilis)

Long-winged Harrier (Circus buffoni)

Savanna Hawk (Buteogallus meridionalis)

Harris's Hawk [sp] (Parabuteo unicinctus)

Roadside Hawk [sp] (Buteo magnirostris)


Caracaras, Falcons (Falconidae)

Southern Crested Caracara (Caracara plancus)

Chimango Caracara [sp] (Milvago chimango)

American Kestrel [sp] (Falco sparverius)


Rails, Crakes & Coots (Rallidae)

Rufous-sided Crake [melanophaius] (Laterallus melanophaius melanophaius)

Grey-necked Wood Rail [sp] (Aramides cajaneus)

Giant Wood Rail (Aramides ypecaha)

Spotted Rail [sp] (Pardirallus maculatus)

Plumbeous Rail [sp] (Pardirallus sanguinolentus)

Common Gallinule [sp] (Gallinula galeata)

Spot-flanked Gallinule [sp] (Gallinula melanops)

White-winged Coot (Fulica leucoptera)

Limpkin (Aramidae)

Limpkin [sp] (Aramus guarauna)


Stilts, Avocets (Recurvirostridae)

White-backed Stilt (Himantopus melanurus)

Plovers (Charadriidae)

Southern Lapwing [sp] (Vanellus chilensis)

Jacanas (Jacanidae)

Wattled Jacana [sp] (Jacana jacana)

Sandpipers, Snipes (Scolopacidae)

South American Snipe [sp] (Gallinago paraguaiae)

Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca)

Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes)

Baird's Sandpiper (Calidris bairdii)

Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos)

Gulls, Terns & Skimmers (Laridae)

Brown-hooded Gull (Chroicocephalus maculipennis)


Doves and Pigeons (Columbidae)

Feral Pigeon (Columba livia ''feral'')

Picazuro Pigeon [sp] (Patagioenas picazuro)

Spot-winged Pigeon [sp] (Patagioenas maculosa)

Eared Dove [sp] (Zenaida auriculata)

Picui Ground Dove [sp] (Columbina picui)

White-tipped Dove [sp] (Leptotila verreauxi)


Parrots and Macaws (Psittacidae)

Nanday Parakeet (Nandayus nenday)

Monk Parakeet [sp] (Myiopsitta monachus)


Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Guira Cuckoo (Guira guira)


Owls (Strigidae)

Burrowing Owl [sp] (Athene cunicularia)


Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Nacunda Nighthawk [sp] (Chordeiles nacunda)


Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Glittering-bellied Emerald [sp] (Chlorostilbon lucidus)

Gilded Sapphire (Hylocharis chrysura)


Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Ringed Kingfisher [sp] (Megaceryle torquata)


Woodpeckers (Picidae)

White-fronted Woodpecker (Melanerpes cactorum)

Checkered Woodpecker [sp] (Veniliornis mixtus)

Green-barred Woodpecker [nigroviridis] (Colaptes melanochloros nigroviridis)

Field Flicker (Colaptes campestris campestroides)


Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Rufous Hornero [sp] (Furnarius rufus)

Tufted Tit-spinetail (Leptasthenura platensis)

Short-billed Canastero [sp] (Asthenes baeri)

Chotoy Spinetail [sp] (Schoeniophylax phryganophilus)

Sooty-fronted Spinetail [sp] (Synallaxis frontalis)

Pale-breasted Spinetail [sp] (Synallaxis albescens)

Spix's Spinetail (Synallaxis spixi)

Stripe-crowned Spinetail [sp] (Cranioleuca pyrrhophia)

Yellow-chinned Spinetail [sp] (Certhiaxis cinnamomeus)

Freckle-breasted Thornbird (Phacellodomus striaticollis)

Firewood-gatherer (Anumbius annumbi)

Brown Cacholote [sp] (Pseudoseisura lophotes)

Scimitar-billed Woodcreeper (Drymornis bridgesii)

Narrow-billed Woodcreeper [sp] (Lepidocolaptes angustirostris)

Typical Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)

Variable Antshrike [sp] (Thamnophilus caerulescens)

Tyrant Flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Small-billed Elaenia (Elaenia parvirostris)

Suiriri Flycatcher [sp] (Suiriri suiriri)

Sooty Tyrannulet (Serpophaga nigricans)

Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulet [ventralis] (Phylloscartes ventralis ventralis)

Bran-colored Flycatcher [sp] (Myiophobus fasciatus)

Vermilion Flycatcher [sp] (Pyrocephalus rubinus)

Spectacled Tyrant [sp] (Hymenops perspicillatus)

White Monjita [sp] (Xolmis irupero)

Black-backed Water Tyrant (Fluvicola albiventer)

Cattle Tyrant [sp] (Machetornis rixosa)

Great Kiskadee [sp] (Pitangus sulphuratus)

Crowned Slaty Flycatcher [sp] (Griseotyrannus aurantioatrocristatus)

Tropical Kingbird [sp] (Tyrannus melancholicus)

Fork-tailed Flycatcher [sp] (Tyrannus savana)

Tityras (Tityridae)

Green-backed Becard [sp] (Pachyramphus viridis)

Vireos (Vireonidae)

Rufous-browed Peppershrike [sp] (Cyclarhis gujanensis)

Red-eyed Vireo [sp] (Vireo olivaceus)

Swallows and Martins (Hirundinidae)

White-rumped Swallow (Tachycineta leucorrhoa)

Grey-breasted Martin [sp] (Progne chalybea)

Brown-chested Martin [sp] (Progne tapera)

Blue-and-white Swallow [sp] (Notiochelidon cyanoleuca)

Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)

Wrens (Troglodytidae)

House Wren [sp] (Troglodytes aedon)

Gnatcatchers (Polioptilidae)

Masked Gnatcatcher [sp] (Polioptila dumicola)

Mockingbirds and Thrashers (Mimidae)

Chalk-browed Mockingbird [sp] (Mimus saturninus)

Starlings (Sturnidae)

Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)

Thrushes (Turdidae)

Rufous-bellied Thrush [sp] (Turdus rufiventris)

Creamy-bellied Thrush (Turdus amaurochalinus)

Old World Sparrows and Snowfinches (Passeridae)

House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)

Pipits and Wagtails (Motacillidae)

Correndera Pipit [sp] (Anthus correndera)

Finches, Siskins and Crossbills (Fringillidae)

Hooded Siskin [sp] (Carduelis magellanica)

New World Warblers (Parulidae)

Southern Yellowthroat (Geothlypis velata)

Tropical Parula [sp] (Setophaga pitiayumi)

Oropendolas, Orioles and New World Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Scarlet-headed Blackbird (Amblyramphus holosericeus)

Unicolored Blackbird [sp] (Agelasticus cyanopus)

Yellow-winged Blackbird [sp] (Agelasticus thilius)

Chestnut-capped Blackbird [sp] (Chrysomus ruficapillus)

Brown-and-yellow Marshbird (Pseudoleistes virescens)

Baywing [sp] (Agelaioides badius)

Screaming Cowbird (Molothrus rufoaxillaris)

Shiny Cowbird [sp] (Molothrus bonariensis)

White-browed Blackbird (Sturnella superciliaris)

Buntings and New World Sparrows (Emberizidae)

Rufous-collared Sparrow [sp] (Zonotrichia capensis)

Grassland Sparrow [sp] (Ammodramus humeralis)

Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Red-crested Cardinal (Paroaria coronata)

Yellow-billed Cardinal [sp] (Paroaria capitata)

Sayaca Tanager [sp] (Thraupis sayaca)

Blue-and-yellow Tanager [sp] (Thraupis bonariensis)

Red Pileated Finch [sp] (Coryphospingus cucullatus)

Black-and-rufous Warbling Finch (Poospiza nigrorufa)

Black-capped Warbling Finch (Poospiza melanoleuca)

Saffron Finch [sp] (Sicalis flaveola)

Pampa Finch [sp] (Embernagra platensis)

Blue-black Grassquit [sp] (Volatinia jacarina)

Cardinals, Grosbeaks & Allies (Cardinalidae)

Green-winged Saltator [sp] (Saltator similis)

Green-winged Saltator [similis] (Saltator similis similis)

Greyish Saltator [sp] (Saltator coerulescens)

Golden-billed Saltator [sp] (Saltator aurantiirostris)

Glaucous-blue Grosbeak (Cyanoloxia glaucocaerulea)

Ultramarine Grosbeak [sp] (Cyanocompsa brissonii)