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

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):

http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/22696628

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

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
https://www.instagram.com/gmunozs/
© Guillermo Muñoz, https://www.instagram.com/gmunozs
© Enid Phreaner

Anaconda, Eunectes murinus, Peruvian Amazon

anaconda_mg_7370

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.

 

PUNA FLAMINGO, PHOENICOPARRUS JAMESI, SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA, CHILE

PHOENICOPARRUS JAMESI

Phoenicoparrus is a genus separated from the rest of the Flamingos because of their deep mandible or lower bill and the very long filtering filaments or lamellae in the maxilla or upper bill.

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Their higly restricted range makes it difficult to find them in the field. Often you will see them next to the other two South American species, Andean and Chilean Flamingo.

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There are two specific spots that hold two important colonies of James Flamingo. One is in Southern Bolivia in lake Laguna Colorada at 4300 mts above sea level which keeps more than 40 thousand of them. Then in Chile in Tara salt lake a smaller colony but also quite important because is the only place in Chile where is easier to find them active.

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Puna Flamingo ©Alvaro Barrientos, Far South Expeditions.

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile.

ARAUCANA ORCHID, GAVILEA ARAUCANA, TORRES DEL PAINE, CHILE

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Araucana Orchid ©Alvaro Barrientos, Far South Expeditions.

Gavilea is an endemic genus from South America, comprising 16 different species, all of them living only in Patagonia. It blooms between spring and summertime, and is often associated to forests and mesofitic shrubs.

Gavilea araucana_SSFOTO EDITADA-27

CONSTANZA’S TREE IGUANA, LIOLAEMUS CONSTANZAE, SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA, CHILE

liolaemus platei

Constanza’s Tree Iguana  ©Alvaro Barrientos, Far South Expeditions.

An adult male Constanza’s Tree Iguana, Liolaemus constanzae takes a last sunbath right before sunset in the banks of Vilama River near San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. It is one of the endemic reptiles we have between Parinacota and Antofagasta regions in Northern Chile.

 

Magellanic Plover, Pluvianellus socialis, a shorebird on a class of its own

Magellanic Plover, Pluvianellus socialis is the sole member of family Pluvianellidae, and despite its name it is not really related to true Plovers, Charadriidae, but closer to Chionidae, the Sheathbills. However, it wasn’t until 1975 that it was separated from Plovers and placed into its own monotypic family, Pluvianellidae and genus, Pluvianellus.

Magellanic Plover, Photo © Juan Pablo Rider
Magellanic Plover, Photo © Juan Pablo Rider

Some authors have suggested placing it within the Sheathbill family, but several morphological and behavioural traits separate it from that group, such as the use of a crop to carry food to the chicks, the slight asymmetry of the bill, and the use of the feet to dig in the ground for food.

A medium-sized shorebird, the shape of its body recalls a small dove or seedsnipe more than a plover. Generally found along the shores of shallow saline lakes and lagoons with rocky and muddy shores, very exposed to the wind, with variable water levels. Also on rocky coasts, especially during migration periods.

Magellanic Plover © Sebastián Saiter, Far South Expeditions
Magellanic Plover © Sebastián Saiter, Far South Expeditions

It can be easily overlooked due to its extremely cryptic colouration, especially as it blends with the pebbles that are commonly part of their habitat, and finding it usually involves a fair amount of time and patience, trying to discern its minute shape among vast extensions of pebbles and stones in the shores of Patagonian water bodies.

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

Territorial, normally in pairs or family groups. Also associates with other plovers and sandpipers, like Two-banded Plover, Rufous-chested Dotterel and Baird’s and White-rumped Sandpipers. Forms flocks during migration and winter.

Magellanic Plover, Photo © Juan Pablo Rider
Magellanic Plover, Photo © Juan Pablo Rider

Endemic to Patagonia, local and partially resident in the extreme south of Chile and Argentina, in Chile restricted to Magallanes district, and it is classified as Near Threatened (NT) in the IUCN Red List.

Magellanic Plover, Photo © Juan Pablo Rider
Magellanic Plover, Photo © Juan Pablo Rider

Andean Huemul Deer, Hippocamelus antisensis

A female Andean Huemul Deer, Hippocamelus antisensis checks us out in the distance while feeding in the first light of day at the foothills of the Andes mountains near Putre, Arica, Northern Chile. One of the largest but least known mammals of the country, it is very rare and shy, and as such it is only occasionally seen.

Andean Huemul Deer, photo © Rodrigo Tapia, Far South Expeditions
Andean Huemul Deer, photo © Rodrigo Tapia, Far South Expeditions