Chilean Pigeon, Patagioenas araucana

Chilean PigeonPatagioenas araucana. The largest pigeon in Chile and Patagonia. Resident of temperate forested regions in southern Chile & Argentina, from the sea level to the Andean slopes. Often perches quietly in foliage, in small flocks. Feeds on a wide variety of tree fruits.

© Sebastián Saiter, Far South Expeditions
© Sebastián Saiter, Far South Expeditions

Accidental visitor in the province of Magallanes, Chilean Patagonia.

This past 29th of March 2017 a solitary individual, observed by Roberto Donoso. This is the first record in Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia.

© Sebastián Saiter, Far South Expeditions
© Sebastián Saiter, Far South Expeditions

Tucuxi Dolphin, Sotalia fluviatilis, Peruvian Amazon


Breaching just long enough to allow for a fleeting glimpse, a Tucuxi, Sotalia fluviatilis comes out for a breath in the Ucayali, a tributary of the Amazon River near Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve in northern Peru.

Although it inhabits rivers, it is placed within Family Delphinidae, the ocean dolphins, like the Bottlenose, to which it bears a remote resemblance. The only other Cetacean found in the Amazon, the Amazon River Dolphin, belongs in Family Iniidae, the “true” river dolphins.

Hooded Grebe, back in Tierra del Fuego after 20 years



This past 9th of January, 2017, a solitary individual of Hooded Grebe, Podiceps gallardoi, one of the most endangered and rare birds of South America, was spotted and photograped in Lake Santa Maria, near Porvenir in Tierra del Fuego island, Chile, among a flock of 100-some Silvery Grebe, Podiceps occipitalis, a closely related and similar-looking but far more common south american grebe.

This record adds to several recent records of isolated birds that have been found between 2013 and the present in the province of Magallanes in Chilean Patagonia, but the last time it was seen in Tierra del Fuego was 1997, 20 years to the day.


Blue-crowned Trogon, Peruvian Amazon


Carrying a big caterpillar in its beak, a male Blue-crowned Trogon, Trogon curucui pauses on a branch before entering his nest on a nearby hollow tree to feed his young.

Colourful and slow-moving birds of the Neotropical rainforest, Trogons are one of the highlights of any birdwatching trip in the Amazon basin.

Hooded Grebe, Podiceps gallardoi

Recently discovered species, described in 1974 in Argentina. Endemic to south-eastern Patagonia.

Resident to uplands of western Santa Cruz, in diverse very windy pre-Andean plateaus of eastern Argentinian Patagonia.

Alone or in pairs. Occasional, scarcely recorded in Magallanes province, Chile. Nests colonially, sometimes seen in mixed flocks with several Silvery Grebe. This species breeds on a few basaltic lakes in the interior of Santa Cruz, extreme south-west Argentina. Excellent diver, curious.

Critically Endangered (CR), This species has a very small and extremely rapidly declining population within a very small range.

(Red List Category):

© Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Expeditions 2016
© Sebastián Saiter, Far South Expeditions
© Sebastián Saiter, Far South Expeditions

Cape Petrel, Daption capense, Valparaiso, Chile

Cape Petrel, Photo © Rodrigo Tapia, Far South Expeditions

Diving downwind in the gale, a Cape or Pintado Petrel, Daption capense dashes past our boat off the coast of Valparaiso, Chile. One of the southern Fulmarine Petrels and many seabirds that can be spotted in pelagic trips off Chile, they migrate along the Chilean coast en route to their breeding grounds in the South Shetlands and the rocky coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, where they nest in ledges in unaccessible cliffs.

Patagonian Tinamou, Tinamotis ingoufi

A Patagonian endemic Tinamou of large and robust body, this species has a restricted range in Patagonian steppe from the coast of the Straits of Magellan to the windy plateaus of western Argentinian Patagonia. Very rare, scarcely recorded in eastern sector of Magallanes province in Chile.

It inhabits steppe shrublands, especially with Lepidophyllum, Junellia, Berberis sp., and open wind-swept areas.

© Sebastián Saiter, Far South Expeditions
© Sebastián Saiter, Far South Expeditions

Small groups and flocks up to 40 individuals in non-breeding season during the southern winter, when it shelters from the snow in small caves.  Alarm call is a characteristic whistle.

Runs rapidly, with its body in an upright position, flies only when threatened, with loud, heavy and strong wing-beats. The chicks remain in the care of the male. Shy.

© J.P. Rider
© J.P. Rider. Patagonian Tinamou, Tinamotis ingoufi
© Sebastián Saiter, Far South Expeditions
© Sebastián Saiter, Far South Expeditions

Darwin’s Iguana, Diplolaemus darwinii

Patagonian endemic reptile that inhabits steppe shrublands.

Scarcely recorded in northeast Magallanes, Chile, more distributed in Patagonia Argentina.
It shelters among rocks and crevices of slag heaps and volcanic conglomerate.
Oviparous, insectivorous.

Diplolaemus_darwinii. pdf

© Enid Phreaner
© Enid Phreaner
© Guillermo Muñoz,
© Enid Phreaner

Anaconda, Eunectes murinus, Peruvian Amazon


Crawling in the mud on a bank of the Ucayali, a tributary to the Amazon, a 5-metre Anaconda, Eunectes murinus approaches the river in the early morning light. Heaviest and second longest snake in the world, it is the most aquatic of boas, spending most of the time in or near the water, where it hunts mostly after dark for large prey including caiman, mammals like capibara and other large rodents and birds, which it attacks by holding them down with its powerful jaws while coiling around and crushing them dead under the power of its massive and muscular body.


Arjan´s Biggest Year

On Friday 19 and Saturday 20 August we went out with Arjan Dwarshuis, a Dutch bird watcher, who is doing his “Biggest Year” birding around the world !, trying to surpass the 6,000 species, more than half of all existing species worldwide in just one year!

We observed interesting species, considering that spring has not yet begun and several species still haven’t arrived to the area.
First birded in Tres Puentes wetland and the Straits of Magellan, where we found Magellanic Horned Owl, Dolphin Gull and Southern Fulmar among others, then the next day early in the southern sector of Punta Arenas we went looking for shorebirds and waterbirds characteristic of the area such as 3 species of Oystercatcher (American, Blackish and Magellanic), 2 species of Steamer-Duck (Flying and Flightless), 4 species of Patagonian geese (Upland, Kelp, Ashy-headed and Ruddy-headed Goose), a beautiful family of Magellanic Woodpecker at San Juan river, and Austral Parakeet, among other birds of the native forests.

Then, north of Punta Arenas in the Patagonian steppe environment; Silver teal, Lesser Rhea, Two-banded Plover, and the highly sought after and Patagonian Endemics Magellanic Plover and White-bellied Seedsnipe.

We look forward to the final outcome this great global birding effort of “Biggest Year”

To follow and keep up on news from Arjan, visit:

San Juan river
San Juan river
Arjan Dwarshuis
Tres Puentes Wetland
White-bellied Seedsnipe, Attagis malouinus
White-bellied Seedsnipe, Attagis malouinus – Photos © Sebastián Saiter, Far South Expeditions.