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

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

Austral Parakeet, Enicognathus ferrugineus, Punta Arenas, Chile

A blaze of green and red against the stark winter white, an Austral Parakeet Enicognathus ferrugineus feeds on the seeds of a short bush that sticks out through the snow blanket in the shore of the Straits of Magellan near Punta Arenas in Chilean Patagonia. Southernmost of all parrots in the world, it is found to the very tip of the South American continent.

Austral Parakeet, photo © Rodrigo Tapia, Far South Expeditions
Austral Parakeet, photo © Rodrigo Tapia, Far South Expeditions

Cinereous Harrier, Circus cinereus, San Gregorio, Magallanes, Chilean Patagonia

Cinereous Harrier, Circus cinereus, smallish and beautiful raptor. Their habitat includes damp terrains, grasslands, cultivated fields and arid Patagonian steppes with scattered bushes.

The southernmost populations migrate nothwards to more temperature regions of Central Chile and Argentina. Although, many individuals remains in the southern regions during the colder months.

Hunts by long and low glides with slow wing-beats, above the reeds, bushes and grasslands, looking and chasing for its prey, composed mainly by rodents, small birds, frogs and insects.

A small and very territorial group protect the breeding territory in the middle of the patagonian steppe with Greenbush, Lepidophyllum cupressiforme.

♂ Cinereous Harrier, © Sebastián Saiter, Far South Expeditions
♂ Cinereous Harrier, © Sebastián Saiter, Far South Expeditions
♀ Cinereous Harrier, Photo © Sebastián Saiter, Far South Expeditions
♀ Cinereous Harrier, © Sebastián Saiter, Far South Expeditions
♀ Cinereous Harrier, Photo © Sebastián Saiter, Far South Expeditions
♀ Cinereous Harrier, © Sebastián Saiter, Far South Expeditions

 

 

 

 

 

Magellanic Oystercatcher, Haematopus leucopodus, Pali Aike NP, Magallanes, Patagonia, Chile

Tail cocked in an alert posture, a Magellanic Oystercatcher, Haematopus leucopodus guards over its breeding territory in the middle of the patagonian steppe of Pali Aike National Park in Magallanes, Chile, a Guanaco in the background. One of the three southern cone oystercatchers, it is the only one to leave the coast for the inland plains, especially in breeding season.

Magellanic Oystercatcher, Photo © Rodrigo Tapia, Far South Expeditions
Magellanic Oystercatcher, Photo © Rodrigo Tapia, Far South Expeditions

Puna Ground Tyrant, Muscisaxicola juninensis, Arica, Chile

Approaching its nest located inside a crevasse in the rocks, a Puna Ground Tyrant, Muscisaxicola juninensis briefly pauses on top of a boulder with a beakful of insect prey that will be fed to its offspring. One of the highest-living tyrant flycatchers, it is found in the high Andes above 3,500m above sea level.

Puna Ground Tyrant, Photo © Rodrigo Tapia, Far South Expeditions
Puna Ground Tyrant, Photo © Rodrigo Tapia, Far South Expeditions

Fire-eyed Diucon, Xolmis pyrope, Magallanes, Patagonia, Chile

Surveying from an advantage perch, a Fire-eyed Diucon Xolmis pyrope waits for any flying insects coming across its field of view, ready to take off and snatch its prey in mid-air before returning to its watching post by the edge of a Nothofagus forest patch in Magallanes, chilean Patagonia. One of the relatively common southern cone Tyrant flycatchers, it excels in sally-gleaning and can be readily identified by its general grey colours and striking bright-red eye.

Fire-eyed Diucon, Photo © Rodrigo Tapia, Far South Expeditions
Fire-eyed Diucon, Photo © Rodrigo Tapia, Far South Expeditions

Puna plover, Charadrius alticola, Antofagasta, Chile

Carefully looking for any movement betraying the presence of its insect prey, a Puna Plover Charadrius alticola makes a dash run for a tiny mosquito in the seemingly barren vastness of the Atacama Salt Lake near San Pedro de Atacama in Antofagasta, Chile. The highest-living plover, it is found only in high-altitude lakes in the Andean plateau between 3000 and 5000m.

Puna Plover, Photo © Rodrigo Tapia, Far South Expeditions
Puna Plover, Photo © Rodrigo Tapia, Far South Expeditions

Magellanic & Imperial Cormorants, Straits of Magellan, Patagonia, Chile

Sitting  low above the water, a Magellanic Cormorant Phalacrocorax magellanicus surfaces while feeding in the cold waters of the Straits of Magellan, closely followed by an Imperial Cormorant Phalacrocorax atriceps. The two southernmost cormorants in the Americas, they are found along both Pacific and Atlantic coasts of Patagonia.

Magellanic & Imperial Cormorants, Photo © Rodrigo Tapia, Far South Expeditions
Magellanic & Imperial Cormorants, Photo © Rodrigo Tapia, Far South Expeditions