Northwest Argentina: Chaco, Andes and Altiplano: Nov 19—Dec 02, 2007

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Departs: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tour Limit: 14
Download Itinerary: PDF (114 KB)

Route Map

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Tour Leaders

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Steve Hilty

Steve Hilty is the senior author of A Guide to the Birds of Colombia, and author of Birds of...


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Greater Rhea

Greater Rhea— Photo: Hernan Goni

Spectacular scenery ranks among the most dramatic on the continent. Surprisingly diverse and exciting avifauna and a wide range of habitats from deserts to altiplano. Excellent for tinamous, nightbirds, flycatchers, emberizids, and exotic woodcreepers.

Our Northwest Argentina tour begins in the Chaco, a broad desert-like region stretching from southeastern Bolivia across western Paraguay and into the heart of the northwestern part of the country. The Chaco avifauna is particularly rich, and the vast majority of Chaco birds are not well-known to naturalists.

The rest of our trip will be devoted to exploring some of the many other Andean habitats of northwestern Argentina. Nearly all visitors are surprised at the richness of the avifauna and also by the beauty of the region. From Yungas forests in the foothills near Salta to craggy canyons and the broad sweep of the altiplano, there is a splendid palette of birds and other wildlife that await the inquiring naturalist. This is a region well-stocked with interesting furnariids—spinetails, thornbirds, canasteros, earthcreepers, miners, cinclodes, and foliage-gleaners, perhaps the most dazzling hummingbird on earth, and, on high altiplano lagoons, a spectacular assortment of flamingoes and waterfowl that stretch away into shimmering mirages of pink. Rare vicunas and Puna Rheas still roam the wilder puna regions, while flocks of yellow-finches, shy mountain parakeets, and startlingly bold siskins add flecks and swirls of color to a landscape of golden puna grass and cyanine blue skies.

This trip spans a vast and beautiful portion of the continent, and grips the imagination with an awesome sense of geologic and evolutionary time. From bird-rich deserts to the allure of the towering Andes, it is sure to hold some surprises.

Moderate pace; hot temperatures in desert; chilly mornings in altiplano. Some high elevations.