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.
Perching on a dead branch, a female Striped Woodpecker Veniliornis lignarius looks for insect larvae in Torres del Paine NP, Chilean Patagonia. The smallest of Patagonian woodpeckers, it is found around the edge of Nothofagus southern beech stands.
Gyrating with majestic ease over the waves of the Drake Passage between Cape Horn and Antarctica, an adult Southern Royal Albatross Diomedea epomophora glides past our ship during the crossing of this stormy seaway. Largest of albatrosses, with a wingspan of more than 3.5m it is also the longest-winged bird in the planet.
Probing the mud with one of the longest bills of any plover, a Diademed Sandpiper-Plover wades and looks for invertebrates in a high bog in the Andes east of Santiago, central Chile. A striking bird, its very name reflects the puzzle that early ornithologists faced when confronted with a shorebird that exhibits mixed traits of both Plovers and Sandpipers families.
Stretching its neck to peep above the bush and grass cover, an OrnateTinamou Nothoprocta ornata briefly looks for potential danger before moving on while feeding about the grassy hills north of Putre in Arica, northern Chile. A medium-sized Tinamou of pretty secretive habits, it is restricted to the pre-puna zone in the foothills of the Andes.
A silent look passes between a Snowy Sheathbill Chionis alba and its chick at their nest located in a gap between boulders in an island in the Gerlache Strait, Antarctica. Mostly scavengers, Snowy sheathbills live on any organic debris they may find, but will also prey on marine invertebrates like limpets, amphipods and worms in the intertidal zone.
Projecting its open webbed feet in the air, a Murphy’s Petrel Pterodroma murphyi prepares to land near a potential nest site in the extint Rano Kau volcano, Easter Island, in the South Eastern Pacific. A pelagic gadfly petrel, it nests in only a few island groups in Polynesia.
Wading with parsimony while feeding on tiny brine shrimp and other plankton, a group of Puna (or James’s) Flamingo, Phoenicoparrus jamesi make the best out of the last moments of daylight in Pujsa salt lake in the Andean plateau of Antofagasta, Chile. The least, most endangered and rarest of New World flamingoes, they survive in only a handful of high-altitude salt flats in the Andes of Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Argentina.
Showing its distinctive black-and-white plumage and yellow eye ring, a Magellanic Oystercatcher, Haematopus leucopodus walks along the pebble shore of the Straits of Magellan looking for invertebrate prey. The most restricted of chilean oystercatchers, it is only found in both Pacific and Atlantic coasts of Patagonia.
Flicking its diagnostic rufous tail, a Canyon Canastero, Asthenes pudibunda briefly perches on a rock while moving across a stream in a ravine near Putre, in Arica, northern Chile. Rarest of chilean canasteros, it is found only in some canyons in the Pre-Puna, a restricted area between the arid coastal desert and the high andean plateau of the Atacama Desert.