This long and narrow territory is home to a seemingly endless variety of birds. You can find them in the altiplano, Patagonia, in the forest, on the coasts and atop the Andean peaks. Chile is the perfect place for fans of bird watching, an increasingly popular activity that attracts enthusiasts from all over the world. The 133 wildlife areas protected by Codeff (the National Committee for the Defense of Flora and Fauna) cover 19 percent of the country's surface area and allow for up-close encounters with even the most elusive species.
Observing birds in their natural habitat makes for a truly unique experience. In the northern altiplano, excursions to Putre, Parinacota and Lake Chungará offer views of black-headed Andean gulls, caities, coots and giant taguas, as well as flamingo colonies which color the dreamlike salt flats and lagoons. You can find spectacular flamingo habitats at the Atacama Salt Flat, on the outskirts of San Pedro de Atacama, and at Lake Chungará near Arica.
The country is also home to the Humboldt and Magellan penguins, two endangered species. You can spot them in the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve in the region of Coquimbo, on the coast of Isla Grande de Chiloé and near Punta Arenas.
But perhaps the biggest avian attraction is the legendary Andean condor. You can marvel at its beauty in Torres del Paine (a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve), near the San Rafael Glacier, or at Alerce Andino National Park. In fact, Patagonia's beautiful scenery is home to over 120 bird species including ñandúes.
You can spot woodpeckers and the mysterious chucao, whose percussive sound seems to be everywhere at once, in the forests of national parks like Villarrica, Huerquehue, Conguillo, Vicente Pérez Rosales, Puyehue and the Huilo Huilo National Reserve.
You can also go bird watching in Chiloé and in the country's extreme southern region. On Isla Navarino in the Strait of Magellan you can visit Omora Ethno-Botanical Park. Here, the most iconic bird is the large woodpecker, which you can observe making its characteristic nibbles at the dry wood.
|San Pedro de Atacama||Arica|
|La Serena and Coquimbo||Santiago|
|Highlights of the Central Valley||Chiloé|
|Robinson Crusoe||Pucón, Villarrica and Temuco|
|Valdivia and Osorno||Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt|
|Northern Patagonia||Southern Patagonia|