438 species of birds are certainly observed in Chile, don’t worry, we are not listing them all here!!! But we offer you a suggestion for a Birds Field Guide at the end of this Post .
We are just giving you our TOP 10 list of Birds seen by our travelers:
Andean Condor :
The Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus) is a species of South American bird in the New World vulture family Cathartidae and is the only member of the genus Vultur. Found in the Andes mountains and adjacent Pacific coasts of western South America, it is the largest flying land bird in the Western Hemisphere.
It is a large black vulture with a ruff of white feathers surrounding the base of the neck and, especially in the male, large white patches on the wings. The head and neck are nearly featherless, and are a dull red color, which may flush and therefore change color in response to the bird’s emotional state. In the male, there is a wattle on the neck and a large, dark red comb or caruncle on the crown of the head. Unlike most birds of prey, the male is larger than the female.
The condor is primarily a scavenger, feeding on carrion. It prefers large carcasses, such as those of deer or cattle. It reaches sexual maturity at five or six years of age and roosts at elevations of 3,000 to 5,000 m (10,000 to 16,000 ft), generally on inaccessible rock ledges. One or two eggs are usually laid. It is one of the world’s longest-living birds, with a lifespan of up to 50 years.
The Andean Condor is a national symbol of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, and plays an important role in the folklore and mythology of the South American Andean regions. The Andean Condor is considered near threatened by the IUCN. It is threatened by habitat loss and by secondary poisoning from carcasses killed by hunters. Captive breeding programs have been instituted in several countries.
The Southern Caracara (Caracara plancus), also known as the Southern Crested Caracara, is a bird of prey in the family Falconidae. It formerly included the Northern Caracara (C. cheriway) of southern USA, Central America and northern South America, and the extinct Guadalupe Caracara (C. lutosus) as subspecies. As presently defined, the Southern Caracara is restricted to central and southern South America. As its relatives, it was formerly placed in the genus.
It has a total length of 50-65 cm (20-26 in) and a wing-span of c. 120 cm (47 in). Individuals from the colder southern part of its range average larger than those from tropical regions. The cap, belly, thighs, most of the wings and tail-tip are dark brownish, the auriculars, throat and nape are whitish-buff, and the chest, neck, mantle, back, uppertail-coverts, crissum and basal part of the tail are whitish-buff barred dark brownish. In flight, the outer primaries show a large conspicuous whitish-buff patch (‘window’), as in several other species of caracaras. The legs are yellow and the bare facial skin and cere are deep yellow to reddish-orange. Juveniles resemble adults, but are paler, with streaking on the chest, neck and back, grey legs, and whitish, later pinkish-purple, facial skin and cere.
It can be separated from the similar Crested Caracara by its more extensive barring to the chest, brownish and often lightly mottled/barred scapulars (all blackish in Crested), and pale lower back with dark barring (uniform blackish in Crested). Individuals showing intermediate features are known from the small area of contact in north-central Brazil, but intergradation between the two species is generally limited.
A bold, opportunistic raptor, often seen walking around on the ground looking for food. Mainly feeds on carcasses of dead animals, but will steal food from other raptors, raid bird nests, and take live prey if the possibility arrives (mostly insects or other small prey, but at least up to the size of a Snowy Egret). It is dominant over the Black Vulture and the Turkey Vulture at carcasses.
It is typically solitary, but several individuals may gather at a large food-source (e.g. dumps). Breeding takes place in the Austral spring/summer in the southern part of its range, but timing is less strict in warmer regions. The nest is a large open structure, typically placed on the top of a tree or palm, but sometimes on the ground. Average is two eggs.
The Southern Caracara occurs from Tierra del Fuego in southernmost South America north to the Amazon River region and southern Peru. An isolated population occurs on the Falkland Islands. It avoids the Andean highlands and dense humid forest, such as the Amazon rainforest, where largely restricted to relatively open sections along major rivers. Otherwise, it occurs in virtually any open or semi-open habitat and is often found near humans.
Throughout most of its range, it is common to very common. It is likely to benefit from the widespread deforestation in tropical South America. It is therefore considered to be of Least Concern by BirdLife International.
Tero or Queltehue:
The Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis) is a wader in the family Charadriiformes. It is a common and widespread resident throughout South America, except in densely forested regions (e.g. most of the Amazon), the higher parts of the Andes and the arid coast of a large part of western South America. This bird is particularly common in the basin of the River Plate. It has also been spreading through Central America in recent years.
It is the national bird of Uruguay, where it is called tero. Due to its bold and pugnacious nature it has become the namesake and mascot of the Uruguay national rugby union team, Los Teros. In Brazil it is widely known as quero-quero, an onomatopoetic of its its commonly heard voice.
This lapwing is the only crested wader in South America. It is 12-13 in (31-33 cm) in length and weighs 11 oz (300 g). The upperparts are mainly brownish grey, with a bronze glossing on the shoulders. The head is particularly striking; mainly grey with a black forehead and throat patch extending onto the black breast. A white border separates the black of the face from the grey of the head and crest. The rest of the underparts are white, and the eye ring, legs and most of the bill are pink. It is equipped with red bony extensions under the wings (spurs), used to intimidate foes and fight birds of prey.
During its slow flapping flight, the Southern Lapwing shows a broad white wing bar separating the grey-brown of the back and wing coverts from the black flight feathers. The rump is white and the tail black. The call is a very loud and harsh keek-keek-keek.
There are three or four subspecies, differing slightly in head coloration and voice. Vanellus chilensis fretensis from Patagonia is sometimes included in the nominate subspecies V. c. chilensis.
The northern subspecies – V. c. cayennensis from north and V. c. lampronotus from south of the Amazon River – are sometimes separated as a distinct species, Vanellus cayennensis. These two subspecies have a browner head – particularly the northernmost birds – and the white face band (broad in the northern and narrow in the southern one) does not reach to the center of the crown. However, birds from the general region of Uruguay apparently intergrade.
This is a lapwing of lake and river banks or open grassland. It has benefited from the extension of the latter habitat through widespread cattle ranching. It was first recorded on Trinidad in 1961 and Tobago in 1974, and has rapidly increased on both islands. Tends to appear in any area where there are grass spreads, even in urban areas: in Rio de Janeiro, it can be seem even at soccer fields. When nesting in the vicinity of airports, poses a therat to the safety of aerial traffic.
When not breeding, this bird disperses into wetlands and seasonally flooded tropical grassland.
Its food is mainly insects and other small invertebrates, hunted by a run-and-wait technique, mainly at night. This gregarious species often feeds in flocks.
The Southern Lapwing breeds on grassland and sometimes ploughed fields, and has an aerobatic flapping display flight. It lays 2-3 (rarely 4) olive brown eggs in a bare ground scrape. The nest and young are defended noisily and aggressively against all intruders(including humans), by means of threats, vocalizations and low flight.
The Chilean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis) is a large species (110-130 cm) closely related to Caribbean Flamingo and Greater Flamingo, with which it is sometimes considered conspecific.
It occurs in temperate South America and is introduced into Germany and the Netherlands (colony on the border, Zwilbrockervenn) . Like all flamingos it lays a single chalky white egg on a mud mound.
The plumage is pinker than the slightly larger Greater Flamingo, but less so than Caribbean Flamingo. It can be differentiated from these species by its greyish legs with pink “knees”, and also by the larger amount of black on the bill (more than half).
The Magellanic Penguin, Spheniscus magellanicus, is a South American penguin, breeding in coastal Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands, with some migrating to Brazil. It is the most numerous of the Spheniscus penguins. Its nearest relatives are the African Penguin, the Humboldt Penguin and the Galápagos Penguin.
Magellanic Penguins are medium-sized penguins which grow to be 61-76 cm (24-30 in) tall and weigh between 2.7 kg and 6.5 kg (5.9-14.3 lbs), with the males being larger than the females and weight dropping while each parent nurtures its young.
Adults have black backs and white stomachs. There are two black bands between the head and the breast, with the lower band being in an inverted horseshoe shape. The head is black and has a broad white border running from behind the eye, around the black ear-coverts and chin, and joining on the throat. Chicks and juveniles are grey-blue on their backs, with a more faded grey-blue color on their chest. In the wild, Magellanic Penguins can live up to 25 years, while ages of 30 years have been reached in captivity.
Young birds usually have a blotched pattern on their feet, with this ‘blotching’ fading as they age. Older birds of over ten years usually have solid black feet.
Like the other species of penguins, the Magellanic Penguin has very rigid wings used to ‘fly’ under water.
Magellanic Penguins feed in the water, preying on cuttlefish, sardines, squid, krill, and other crustaceans. Since they ingest sea water with their prey, a salt-excreting gland has evolved to filter out the salt.
Magellanic Penguins travel in large flocks when hunting for food. In the breeding season, these birds gather in large nesting colonies at the coasts of Argentina, southern Chile, and the Falkland Islands, which have a density of 20 nests per 100 square meters. One of the largest of these colonies is located at Punta Tombo.Nests are built under bushes or in burrows. Two eggs are laid. Incubation lasts 39-42 days, a task which the parents share in 10-15 day shifts. The chicks are cared for by both parents for 29 days and are fed every 2-3 days. Normally both are raised through adulthood, though occasionally only one chick is raised.
Magellanic Penguins mate with the same partner year after year. The male reclaims his burrow from the previous year and wait to reconnect with his female partner. The females are able to recognize their mates through their call alone.
Millions of these penguins still live on the coasts of Chile and Argentina, but the species is classified as “Near Threatened,” primarily due to the vulnerability of large breeding colonies to oil spills, which kill 20,000 adults and 22,000 juveniles every year off the coast of Argentina. The decline of fish populations is also responsible, as well as predators such as sea lions and giant petrels, which prey on the chicks
Climate change is forcing the birds to swim farther to find food, according researchers from the University of Washington.(Feb 16 2009)
Climate change has displaced fish populations, so Magellanic penguins must swim “an extra 25 miles (40 km) further from the nest for fish. While the penguins are swimming an extra 50 miles (80.4 km), their mates are sitting on a nest and starving. A colony being tracked by University of Washington professor Dee Boersma, about 1,000 miles (1,609 km) south of Buenos Aires has fallen by more than 20 percent in the past 22 years, leaving just 200,000 breeding pairs. Some younger penguins are now moving their breeding colonies north to be closer to fish, but, in some cases, this is putting them on private, unprotected lands.
12 out of 17 penguin species are experiencing rapid population declines.
The Magellanic Woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus) is a very large woodpecker resident to Chile along the Andes, and to some parts of South-Western Argentina. This species is the southern-most example of the Genus Campephilus, which includes the famous Ivory-billed Woodpecker.
The Magellanic Woodpecker is 36-38 cm in length. Males of this species weigh 312-363g, and females weigh 276-312g.
This species is mainly black, with a white wing patch and a grey, chisel-like beak. Males have a crimson head and crest. Females have a mainly black head, but there is an area of red coloration near the base of the bill. Juvenile Magellanic Woodpeckers resemble females of the species, but have a smaller crest and are browner in color. In its range, this bird is unmistakable in appearance.
Magellanic Woodpeckers inhabit mature Nothofagus and Nothofagus-Austrocedrus forests, where they feed mainly on grubs and adult beetles, but also of small reptiles. They breed in late fall to early winter, digging a nest cavity 5-15m above the ground. Females lay 1-4 eggs.
The most common calls of the Magellanic Woodpecker are a nasal “keé-yew” and “pi-caá”. Like many species in Campephilus, their drum is a loud double knock.
The tapaculos are a group of small suboscine passeriform birds with numerous species, found mainly in South America and with the highest diversity in the Andean regions. Three species, the Chucao, the Pale-throated and the Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, are found in southern Central America.
Tapaculos are small to medium-sized birds, with a total length ranging from 10-24 cm (4-9½ in). These are terrestrial species that fly only poorly on their short wings. They have strong legs, well-suited to their habitat of grassland or forest undergrowth. The tail is cocked and pointed towards the head, and the name tapaculo possibly derives from Spanish for “cover your behind”. Another possible explanation is that it originates from the Chilean name for the White-throated Tapaculo, simply Tapaculo, which is an onomatopoeic reference to its commonly heard song.
While the majority of the family are small blackish or brown birds there are some larger and more colourful species. They are best located and – in the case of Scytalopus spp. – identified by their vocalisations.
They feed on insects, seeds and other soft plant material with their pointy bills, and will scratch on the ground like a pheasant.
Most species lay two or three white eggs in a covered location, whether it be a burrow, a hole in a tree, or a domed nest.
Some species have highly localized distributions, and being poor fliers, they easily become isolated in small populations. BirdLife International currently (2007) consider one species vulnerable (Scytalopus panamensis), three species endangered (S. iraiensis, S. rodriguezi and S. robbinsi), and two species critically endangered (S. psychopompus and Merulaxis stresemanni). The two critically endangered species are restricted to Atlantic forest of eastern Brazil, and were only recently rediscovered after several years without any records.
The Chilean Tinamou, Nothoprocta perdicaria, is a type of Tinamou commonly found in high altitude shrubland in subtropical and tropical regions of central Chile.
All Tinamou are from the family Tinamidae, and in the larger scheme are also Ratites. Unlike other Ratites, Tinamous can fly, although in general, they are not strong fliers. All ratites evolved from prehistoric flying birds, and Tinamous are the closest living relative of these birds.
The Chilean Tinamou is approximately 30 cm (12 in) in length. Its upper parts grayish brown to olive, and have dark barring and pale streaking, its throat is white, its breast is gray, and its belly is buff. Its bill is brown and its legs are pale yellow to brown.
The females lay 10-12 glossy eggs in a scrape. The male incubates the eggs and raises the chicks. The eggs are covered with feathers when left unattended. Incubation is around 21 days. The chicks are buff with dark stripes, and run soon after hatching and fly when half-grown.
The Chilean Tinamou can be found in the high altitude shrubland at 400-2,000 m (1,300-6,600 ft) altitude. This species is native to all of Chile except souther Los Lagos, Tarapacá, Antofagasta, Aisén, and Magallanes y Antartica Chilana, and can also be found in adjacent areas of Argentina. This Tinamou can also be found in arid mountain forests in association with such trees as Acacia caven, Porliera chilensis and the endangered Jubaea chilensis.
The Austral Thrush, Turdus falcklandii, is a medium sized thrush from southern South America.
There are two subspecies, the Falkland Thrush (T. f. falcklandii) from the Falkland Islands and the Magellan Thrush (T. f. magellanicus) from south Argentina and south and central Chile. The Austral Thrush is similar to the European Blackbird also of the genus Turdus, with a yellow bill and feet, a dark brown head, back and wings and a lighter underside. In T. f. falcklandii the underside tends towards ochre, but the smaller T. f. magellanicus is more olive below. The throat of both subspecies is streaked.
In Chile and Argentina the Austral Thrush lives in a variety of habitats from Nothofagus forests to agricultural lands and even gardens. On the Falkland Islands it makes use of human altered habitat as well but is most numerous in tussac grasses near beaches.
The Slender-billed Parakeet, also known as the Slender-billed Conure, (Enicognathus leptorhynchus) is a species of parrot in the Psittacidae family. It is endemic to Chile.Its natural habitat is temperate forests.
The Following Chilean Birds Field Guides are recommendations:
This is the perfect Field Guide, is a Princeton Field Guide, is not heavy at all and suitable for your hand luggage or a pocket.
Now if you are visitng other country besides Chile you might consider the following field guide:
This Guide is very complete if you are thinking to visit not only Chile , also Argentina, Ecuador, Peru or Brazil.