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South America is possibly the most exciting continent for birders around the world. With dense rainforests, river deltas, desert, tropical coastlines, and high mountain peaks – this continent offers incredible diversity. In fact, South America boasts more bird species than any other continent.
If you are thinking about bird watching holidays for the entire family, then be sure to consider this amazing continent. With such a wide range of microclimates, landscapes, and cultures, South America is always going to be a top destination.
Check out some of these unmissable birding places around South America:
Colombia has the longest bird list of any country in the world! With over 1900 species (nearly 90 endemics), any birder will be in paradise during a holiday here. This is all thanks to the wide variety of habitats, as well as the geographical position that attracts many migrant species.
Some of the top regions in this birding Mecca include the Cauca Valley and the western Andes, the high Andes, the Santa Marta mountains, and the Guajira Peninsula. While Columbia is an absolute bucket-list destination for any birder, it is also a beautiful, interesting and friendly country for a holiday.
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Peru is one of the most exciting destinations for a South American holiday. Beyond the famous sights like Machu Picchu, this country is also an incredible place for birders. This is thanks to its huge range of different landscapes.
Peru has Amazonian ox-bow lakes, tall Andes mountain peaks, glaciers, volcanoes, a Pacific Ocean coast, and plenty more environments. This means a massive range of birds can be seen around the country. Spot colourful macaws, condors, pink flamingos and many others. Peru actually has more endemic bird species than any other country.
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3. Ecuador (Andes and Amazon)
Ecuador is the ideal birding destination, as it offers a huge variety of species all within a small area. While there are many different worthwhile habitats spread across this country, the best destinations have got to be the Andes and Amazon regions.
From these places, you can spot some highly sought-after birds. These include toucans, tanagers, cotingas, hoatzin, antbirds, and more. Anyone on holiday here can enjoy the lush rainforest, rivers, and tall mountain peaks. Ecuador is a perfect place for a wildlife holiday – especially if you are a birder!
4. The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Although also part of Ecuador, these famous islands deserve their own mention. Made famous by Darwin, the Galapagos Islands have always been a dream destination for birders. These ‘enchanted isles’ form a volcanic archipelago – offering a unique rugged landscape.
You will get to see large numbers of nesting birds, including some very interesting species. A trip to the Galapagos Islands should reveal some pelicans, waved albatross, Galapagos hawks, Galapagos penguins, and the iconic blue-footed booby. Cruising between the beautiful islands should also allow you to witness some amazing marine life.
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Argentina is a large country with a wide range of climates and landscapes. This makes it an exciting birding destination – as there is a large variety of species on offer. The most famous bird here is probably the Andean condor, although there are plenty other rare and wonderful species to spot.
Argentina consists of four main regions. These are the central plains of the Pampas, the subtropical Gran Chaco in the north, the Andes mountain range (extending the whole length of the country, and the southern plateau.
Birdwatching is particularly good in Patagonian Argentina, as well as Mar Chiquita where there are huge colonies of birds.
Being the largest country in South America, Brazil has got to be a heaven for birders. A large portion of the country is taken up by the lush Amazon rainforest – offering plenty of bird sightings. Besides this though, Brazil has a vast range of habitats – and is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world.
The Atlantic rainforests of Brazil are possibly the best grounds for birding. This is an endemic-rich area with plenty of exotic species. From hummingbirds to owls and cotingas, you will be sure to tick off plenty of names in your Brazilian bird book.
Bolivia offers classic South American scenery, a rich cultural heritage, and plenty of stunning birds to see. All but two of the neotropical bird families can be found in Bolivias national birds list of over 1350 species.
Birders can enjoy all that is on offer in the Bolivian highlands and the Bolivian lowlands. These areas encompass natural sights like Lake Titicaca, Andean foothills, cloud forests, and the Cochabamba temperate forests.
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Chile has really interesting geography. There are volcanoes, high mountain peaks, plateaus, coastal mountains and snowy peaks. Needless to say, this attracts a vast number of different bird species to the country.
You could spot the Andean condor, Inca tern, Magellanic Plover, Magellanic penguin, flightless steamer-duck, and many more here. Thanks to the wide-ranging landscapes of Chile, you can easily see a number of different habitats during your holiday here.
9. Falkland Islands
If you are interested in seabirds, then the Falkland Islands is the place to go! These islands can be found about 450km off the South American coast. Being in the rich fishing grounds of the South Atlantic, a huge number of birds flock here.
You can witness penguins, albatrosses, cormorants, terns and more. The island scenery is also completely beautiful, peaceful and unspoiled. This makes the Falkland Islands an amazing place to go for a peaceful holiday even without the many seabird sightings
Guyana is one of the lesser-known South American countries. However, this place is well worth visiting for its natural beauty. With waterfalls, unexplored rainforests, rivers, savanna, and more, Guyana is a haven for nature lovers. The country actually has five different natural regions, and 80% of the land is covered in forest.
This means there are plenty of birds to be seen. 799 different species have been recorded. These include the well-known harpy eagle and Guianan cock-of-the-rock. Birders love exploring the rivers by canoe to sight these birds. Besides the birdlife though, Guyana also boasts a highly impressive selection of other wildlife within its forests.
If you are wondering where to go for your next birding holiday, then South America should definitely be high up on the list. This continent boasts a massive amount of birdlife across its widely varying landscapes.
Whether you are interested in seabirds on the islands, high flying eagles in the Andes, or macaws in the rainforests, you can see it in South America. We hope that this list of the continent’s best-birding destinations will help you to have a prosperous trip full of rare sightings.
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