top of page

Argentina: North-West Endemics

From Cordoba to Salta via the dry Chaco, truly a magnificent (and comfortable!) tour chasing all the north-west and Chaco specialties of Argentina. Including Rufous-throated Dipper, Horned Coot, Chaco Owl, Buff-fronted Owl, the spectacular Red-tailed Comet, Bare-eyed Ground Dove, scarce Black-bodied Woodpecker, Olrog's Cinclodes, Salinas Monjita, Tucuman Mountain Finch, Rufous-bellied Mountain Tanager, and many more, all amidst some of the world's most beautiful scenery!

Next Dates

Add a Title

Price: $

TBD

Leaders:

Add a Title

Single Room Supplement: $

TBD

Group Size Limit:

7

Deposit: $

TBD

Add a Title

Price: $

TBD

Leaders:

Add a Title

Single Room Supplement: $

TBD

Group Size Limit:

Deposit: $

TBD

Accommodation:

Comfortable hotels throughout.

Walking difficulty:

Mostly easy, but one relatively long and steep walk to reach Scribble-tailed Canastero.

Tour cost includes:

All accommodation, main meals, drinking water, internal flights (as stated in itinerary), overland transport, tips to local drivers and guides, travel permits, entrance fees, and guide fees.

Tour cost excludes:

Flights before and after the tour start/end, visa, travel insurance, tips to tour leaders, laundry, drinks, and other items of a personal nature.

Day 1: The tour starts this morning at Cordoba International Airport (COR), from where we will transfer east to Laguna Mar Chiquita. Prime targets include the breeding-endemic Dinelli’s Doradito, South American Painted Snipe (if water levels are adequate), Dot-winged Crake (here a common but typically hard-to-see bird!), plus numerous other interesting species like White-fronted Woodpecker, Lark-like Brushrunner, Scimitar-billed Woodcreeper, Freckle-breasted Thornbird, Sharp-billed Canastero, Chaco Sparrow, White-tipped Plantcutter, and Great Pampa Finch, among others. The lake also hosts huge numbers of flamingos, Chilean being the most numerous, but there often are a few Andean and James’s Flamingo floating around too. Night at Miramar.


Day 2: This morning, we’ll have a second chance at the Laguna Mar Chiquita specialties before moving west to Icho Cruz for an overnight stay.


Day 3: We will be birding the rugged Pampa de Achala this morning, in search of some regional endemic species and subspecies like Olrog’s Cinclodes, Córdoba Cinclodes, “Córdoba” Puna Canastero and “Sierran” Long-tailed Meadowlark. Afterwards, we transfer further north to Valle Hermoso for an overnight stay. This area is one of the best in which to find Black-bodied Woodpecker (perhaps the hardest Chaco endemic) and Straneck’s Tyrannulet, plus a wealth of other Chaco birds! Night in Valle Hermoso.


Day 4: We will have this morning to look for the rare woodpecker again before moving north towards Salinas Grandes for an overnight stay. Salinas Grandes are the third-largest salt flats in the world and home to Salinas Monjita, almost exclusively restricted to these saltpans! The dry Chaco surrounding these flats hosts the unique Spot-winged Falconet, Brushland Tinamou, Chaco Puffbird, Scimitar-billed Woodcreeper, fantastic Crested Gallitos, Crested Hornero, Lesser Shrike-Tyrant, the declining Black-crested Finch, and many more. It’s a very birdy site and we’ll have an afternoon and next morning to enjoy the avian diversity of this unique region! Night at Salinas Grandes.


Day 5: After a morning birding in the Salinas, we will drive to Tafí del Valle for a two-night stay. Some initial exploration might well reward us with the Yungas endemic Rufous-throated Dipper or the endemic Yellow-striped Brushfinch. Night in Tafí del Valle.


Day 6: This morning we will start exploring the Infiernillo Pass, home to some localised Argentinian endemics like White-browed Tapaculo, Tucuman Mountain Finch, and Bare-eyed Ground Dove, plus other regional or more widespread specialties like Andean and Ornate Tinamous, stunning Red-tailed Comet, White-fronted Woodpecker, Puna and Cordilleran Canasteros, Brown-capped Tit-Spinetail, Buff-breasted Earthcreeper, Hooded and Black Siskins, and many more. An optional hike higher up a remote ridge should produce the very localised Scribble-tailed Canastero. In the afternoon, we will explore the ‘Yungas’ forest below Tafí del Valle, focusing on finding endemics and specialties like the rare Rufous-throated Dipper, Tucuman Parrot, Torrent Duck, Yellow-striped Brushfinch, Sclater’s Tyrannulet, Brown-capped Whitestart, and many more widespread species. Night in Tafí del Valle.


Day 7: After some final birding in the Tafí del Valle area, we will make our way towards the scenic Calchaquíes valleys, and more specifically, Amaicha del Valle and Cafayate. We will now have entered the Monte, a strip of very dry inter-Andean desert entirely restricted to Argentina. Here, we’ll have our first chances to find several endemics like Sandy Gallito, White-throated Cacholote, Black-crowned Monjita, Monte Yellow Finch, and many other regional specialties. Some Chaco birds also occur in these dry habitats, and this is our first opportunity to come across the tricky Black-legged Seriema! We will be passing through some absolutely breathtaking scenery, with the screams of Burrowing Parrots as background ambience as we continue to Cafayate looking for the endemic Steinbach’s Canastero, Chaco Earthcreeper, Tufted Tit-Spinetail and more on the way. We will go owling tonight and hope to find the near-endemic Chaco Owl plus more widespread species like Tropical Screech Owl and Band-winged Nightjar. Night in Cafayate.


Day 8: This morning, we will make our way north through the Monte Desert towards Cachi, through the stunning Quebrada de las Flechas. We will have further opportunities to look for the Monte endemics and also make our way to a high plateau where we could find the beautiful Tawny-throated Dotterel, Golden-spotted Ground Dove, or the endemic Steinbach’s Canastero. If time allows, we will pay a first visit to the sublime Valle Encantado, where we hope to find endemics and near-endemics like Zimmer’s Tapaculo, Rufous-bellied Mountain Tanager, Maquis Canastero, and Rust-and-yellow Tanager, among others. Night in Cachi.


Day 9: We will leave Cachi behind and spend the entire morning birding in Valle Encantado, making some stops to try to find Huayco Tinamou (though this species can be annoyingly hard to see in the tall grasslands). We will be targeting other much-wanted birds like Rufous-bellied Mountain Tanager (formerly considered a Saltator), Zimmer’s Tapaculo, Maquis Canastero, Rock Earthcreeper, Tucuman Mountain Finch, Rufous-sided Warbling Finch, the endemic Bare-eyed Ground Dove, and many more widespread species like Andean Tinamou, Red-tailed Comet, Grey-hooded Parakeet, Straight-billed Earthcreeper, Streak-fronted Thornbird, White-tipped Plantcutter, and Golden-billed Saltator. On our way to San Salvador de Jujuy for a two-night stay, we will make some stops to look for Yungas Sparrow, Black-and-chestnut Warbling Finch, and Huayco Tinamou if still needed. Night near San Salvador de Jujuy.


Day 10: Today, we’ll spend most of our time birding the Yungas forest at Parque Provincial Potrero De Yala. Prime targets in the region will mostly be Yungas endemics like the endangered Red-faced Guan, Rothschild’s Swift, Tucuman Parrot, Spot-breasted Thornbird, Slaty Elaenia, Plumbeous Tyrant, White-browed Brushfinch, Rusty-browed Warbling Finch, Moss-backed Sparrow, and Fulvous-headed Brushfinch. We will need luck to find a Black-and-chestnut Eagle, here at the southernmost limit of its range, and we will have a second chance at finding the sought-after Rufous-throated Dipper, should we have missed it previously. Night near San Salvador de Jujuy.


Day 11: We will be leaving the Yungas behind and making our way through the extremely scenic Quebrada de Humahuaca to reach remote lakes on the altiplano, the favourite habitat of the impressive Horned Coot. We should be seeing thousands of flamingoes of all three species (Chilean, Andean, and James’s) plus a wealth of other birds like Andean Avocet, Puna Plover, Giant Coot, Golden-spotted Ground Dove, Puna Miner, Puna Yellow Finch, and more. In the evening, we will reach the remote settlement of Yavi, where we will spend the next two nights. The immediate vicinity of Yavi is usually very birdy, with Brown-backed Mockingbird, Citron-headed Yellow Finch, and Wedge-tailed Hillstar (essentially a Bolivian endemic excluding this site) as star birds! Night in Yavi.


Day 12: This morning, we will make our way towards the impressive Abra de Lizoite at 4540m elevation, where the restricted Red-backed Sierra Finch is common. Then, a bit lower down, we will visit a boggy area to look for the superb Diademed Sandpiper-Plover! If road conditions allow, we will make it all the way to Santa Victoria, looking for the rare Boulder Finch, Scribble-tailed Canastero, Tawny Tit-Spinetail, or maybe even some bonus birds like Bolivian Warbling Finch and Bolivian Earthcreeper! Night in Yavi.


Day 13: After some final birding in the Yavi vicinity, we will start the long drive to Calilegua National Park, making a few birding stops on the way. We will be spending the following three nights in Libertador General San Martin.


Day 14-15: Two full days will allow us to truly enjoy the Yungas forests of Calilegua National Park! Prime targets in these temperate mossy forests will be Yungas Guan, Yungas Dove, Blue-capped Puffleg, Slender-tailed Woodstar, Tucuman Parrot, Dot-fronted Woodpecker, White-throated Antpitta, Giant Antshrike, Yungas Manakin, Buff-banded and Sclater’s Tyrannulets, Slaty Elaenia, White-browed Brushfinch, Two-banded, Pale-legged, and Golden-crowned Warblers, Andean Slaty Thrush, and Brown-capped Whitestart, among many others. Raptors are always in evidence here, and we have quite good chances for Solitary Eagle, Black-and-chestnut Eagle, and Ornate Hawk-Eagle. The lower elevations of Calilegua encompass some drier habitats, home to some specialties like Toco Toucan, Great Rufous Woodcreeper, Cream-backed Woodpecker, Green-cheeked Parakeet, Yellow-collared Macaw, Stripe-crowned and Ochre-cheeked Spinetails, Black-capped Antwren, Plush-crested Jay, and several more common species. Night birding in Calilegua can also be rewarding, and we’ll make sure to spend enough time at night looking for the mythical Buff-fronted Owl, Black-banded and Spectacled Owls, the near-endemic Yungas (or Montane Forest) Screech Owl, Yungas Pygmy Owl, plus Rufous Nightjar. Nights in Libertador General San Martin.


Day 16: After some final birding in Calilegua, we will make our way to some more dry Chaco for the last two nights of the tour. Overnighting at Taco Pozo, we will make several stops on the way to look for both Black-legged and Red-legged Seriemas.


Day 17: We will have a full day birding around Taco Pozo, which should allow us to connect with all remaining Chaco endemics. The list of specialties and other birds we’ll be looking for is long and we’ll be working hard to connect with all of them, including Chaco Chachalaca, Jabiru, Chaco Puffbird, White-fronted Woodpecker, White-barred Piculet, Blue-tufted Starthroat, Stripe-backed Antbird, the unique Crested Gallito, Great Rufous Woodcreeper, Scimitar-billed Woodcreeper, Crested and Rufous Horneros, Little Thornbird, Brown Cacholote, Greater Wagtail-Tyrant, Cinereous Tyrant, Rufous Casiornis, Black-capped Warbling Finch, and the splendid Many-coloured Chaco Finch. Some species may require a bit more effort to find, like Quebracho Crested Tinamou, Chaco Owl, and Black-bodied Woodpecker (which we have a second chance for here). Night in Taco Pozo.


Day 18: Some final birding this morning before driving to Salta, where the tour ends this afternoon at Salta International Airport (SLA).

bottom of page