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We are Birders - We are Leica

We are Birders - We are Leica

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Birding the Magellan Straits, Exploring the Birdlife of Patagonia | Day tour from Punta Arenas, Chile © Far South Expeditions

On this full day birding journey along the mythical Straits of Magellan, we will explore a great variety of habitats; from the Patagonian shorelines and wetlands, to sub-Antarctic woodlands and part of the western Patagonian Fjordland. We will discover the birdlife of Patagonia and its many endemic species, including the Lesser Rhea, Andean Condor and Magellanic Woodpecker plus a large array of waterfowl and range-restricted passerines. This trip includes private transportation and the services of an experienced birding guide.This tour is highly recommended for cruise passengers with limited time at the port of Punta Arenas.

Full day tour (8-12 hours) from Punta Arenas, Chile.

Lesser Rhea (Rhea pennata), Pali Aike NP, Magallanes, Chile © Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Expeditions

Lesser or Darwin's Rhea, Rhea pennata


Book this trip, reserve space now! Magellan Straits Birding Tour. During this full day birding trip in Patagonia, we will concentrate on the birds and wildlife of the Sub-Antarctic woodlands, the wetlands and coastal areas of the Magellan Straits and the fringes of the Patagonian fjordland. Key areas to be visited include: San Juan Bay, Tres Puentes Reserve and Rio Verde.

 If you have time in the area consider to book our Birding the Patagonian Steppes day trip, with a totally different array of birds, wildlife and scenery.



Detailed Itinerary and Activities


Your birding guide will be meeting you at your hotel in Punta Arenas or at the docks, in case you are a cruise passenger. Right after, you will be heading south along the coastal road in direction to San Juan Bay.  On route we will survey some freshwater ponds where we will be rewarded by a wealth of waterbirds including Great and White-tufted Grebes, Crested Duck, Chiloe Wigeon, Yellow-billed Teal, Yellow-billed Pintail, Red-gartered and White-winged Coots, among several others. Cinereous Harrier, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle and Aplomado Falcon are sometimes seen hovering in these places in search of its prey; carrion-eaters such as Chimango and Southern  Caracaras will be a common sight throughout the day as well.


Fire-eyed Diucon, Xolmis pyrope


At San Juan Bay we will explore the southern beech (Nothofagus) forests searching for some of its specialties including Austral Parakeet, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, White-throated Treerunner, Magellanic Tapaculo, Patagonian Sierra-Finch, Austral Blackbird and the striking Magellanic Woodpecker. From the shoreline, we will be scanning the waters of the Magellan Straits; it is very likely that we will see Black-browed Albatrosses, Southern Giant Petrels, Flightless and Flying Steamer-Ducks, Chilean Skuas, Dolphin, Kelp and Brown-hooded Gulls as well as South American Terns. Peale's Dolphins, South American Sea Lion and Southern Fur Seal are potential marine mammals to observe today. Also, there is a great chance that we will see all the southern Chloephaga geese species, including Upland, Kelp. Ashy-headed and the local and scarce Ruddy-headed Goose.


Magellanic Woodpecker, Campephilus magellanicus


Later, we will head back to Punta Arenas and explore in direction north-west towards the scenic area of Rio Verde, the beginning of the western Patagonian Fjordland. Our main goal here will be to see Andean Condors literally soaring above the Fitz Roy Channel. Black-necked Swans, Imperial Cormorant and Magellanic Oystercatcher are usually seen here. Back to Punta Arenas, we will be driving across the steppe and we will stop along the way for Chilean Flamingo and Guanaco, the wild ancestor of the Llama. Note: Your guide will bring a spotting scope for your use during the trip.


Note: Your guide will bring a spotting scope for your use during the trip.



Photo Gallery


Check out out photo gallery: Birding the Magellan Straits (Day Tour)


Aplomado Falcon, Falco femoralis



Rates & Conditions

Day Tour: Available year round.


Meet/Depart: Daily departures from Punta Arenas, Chile.


Duration: Approximately 8-12 hours • Pick-up time at the hotel / Punta Arenas port 7-9 am.


Birding the Magellan Straits
Trip Code PUQ03
No. of guests 2 3 4 5 6+
Price per person $271 $238 $186 $149 $124


What the trip includes/excludes

The above prices are per person in US Dollars. All payments are in US Dollars.

The trip price includes: Private transportation and guide services during the tour, packed-lunch and mineral water. VAT of the tour is also included.

The trip price excludes: Tipping, travel insurance, à la carte dishes, alcoholic drinks, and anything else of a purely personal nature.



Field Checklist


Birds and mammals possible to be seen during this trip:






Family Rheidae • Rheas

Lesser Rhea Rhea pennata




Family Anatidae • Swans, Geese and Ducks

Black-necked Swan Cygnus melancoryphus

Coscoroba Swan Coscoroba coscoroba

Upland Goose Chloephaga picta

Kelp Goose Chloephaga hybrida

Ashy-headed Goose Chloephaga poliocephala

Ruddy-headed Goose Chloephaga rubidiceps

Flying Steamer-Duck Tachyeres patachonicus

Flightless Steamer-Duck Tachyeres pteneres

Crested Duck Lophonetta specularioides

Spectacled Duck Speculanas specularis

Chiloe Wigeon Anas sibilatrix

Yellow-billed Teal Anas flavirostris

Yellow-billed Pintail Anas georgica

Silver Teal Anas versicolor

Red Shoveler Anas platalea




Family Podicipedidae • Grebes

White-tufted Grebe Rollandia rolland

Great Grebe Podiceps major

Silvery Grebe Podiceps occipitalis




Family Phoenicopteridae • Flamingos

Chilean Flamingo Phoenicopterus chilensis




Family Spheniscidae • Penguins

Magellanic Penguin Spheniscus magellanicus




Family Diomedeidae • Albatrosses

Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris


Family Procellariidae • Petrels and Shearwaters

Southern Giant-Petrel Macronectes giganteus

Southern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialoides


Family Pelecanoididae • Diving-Petrels

Magellanic Diving-Petrel Pelecanoides magellani




Family Phalacrocoracidae • Cormorants

Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus

Magellanic Cormorant Phalacrocorax magellanicus

Imperial Cormorant Phalacrocorax atriceps




Family Ardeidae • Herons

Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis


Family Threskiornithidae • Ibises

Black-faced Ibis Theristicus melanopis




Family Cathartidae • New World Vultures

Andean Condor Vultur gryphus




Family Accipitridae • Hawks and Eagles

Cinereous Harrier Circus cinereus

Bicolored Hawk Accipiter bicolor

Variable Hawk Geranoaetus polyosoma

Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle Geranoaetus melanoleucus

Rufous-tailed Hawk Buteo ventralis




Family Rallidae • Rails and Coots

Plumbeous Rail Pardirallus sanguinolentus

Red-gartered Coot Fulica armillata

White-winged Coot Fulica leucoptera




Family Charadriidae • Lapwings and Plovers

Tawny-throated Dotterel Oreopholus ruficollis

Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis

Two-banded Plover Charadrius falklandicus

Rufous-chested Dotterel Charadrius modestus


Family Haematopodidae • Oystercatchers

American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus

Blackish Oystercatcher Haematopus ater

Magellanic Oystercatcher Haematopus leucopodus


Family Chionidae • Sheathbills

Snowy Sheathbill Chionis albus


Family Pluvianellidae • Magellanic Plover

Magellanic Plover Pluvianellus socialis


Family Scolopacidae • Sandpipers

South American Snipe Gallinago paraguaiae

Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus

Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes

White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis

Baird's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii

Wilson's Phalarope Phalaropus tricolor


Family Thinocoridae • Seedsnipes

Gray-breasted Seedsnipe Thinocorus orbignyianus

Least Seedsnipe Thinocorus rumicivorus


Family Stercorariidae • Skuas

Chilean Skua Stercorarius chilensis


Family Laridae • Gulls and Terns

Brown-hooded Gull Chroicocephalus maculipennis

Dolphin Gull Leucophaeus scoresbii

Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus

South American Tern Sterna hirundinacea




Family Columbidae • Pigeons

Rock Pigeon Columba livia

Eared Dove Zenaida auriculata




Family Tytonidae • Barn Owls

Barn Owl Tyto alba


Family Strigidae • Owls

Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus

Austral Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium nana

Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus




Family Alcedinidae • Kingfishers

Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata




Family Picidae • Woodpeckers

Chilean Flicker Colaptes pitius

Magellanic Woodpecker Campephilus magellanicus




Family Falconidae • Falcons

Southern Caracara Caracara plancus

Chimango Caracara Milvago chimango

American Kestrel Falco sparverius

Aplomado Falcon Falco femoralis

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus




Family Psittacidae • Parrots

Austral Parakeet Enicognathus ferrugineus






Family Rhinocryptidae • Tapaculos

Magellanic Tapaculo Scytalopus magellanicus


Family Furnariidae • Ovenbirds

Common Miner Geositta cunicularia

Short-billed Miner Geositta antarctica

White-throated Treerunner Pygarrhichas albogularis

Band-tailed Earthcreeper Ochetorhynchus phoenicurus

Buff-winged Cinclodes Cinclodes fuscus

Gray-flanked Cinclodes Cinclodes oustaleti

Dark-bellied Cinclodes Cinclodes patagonicus

Thorn-tailed Rayadito Aphrastura spinicauda

Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura aegithaloides

Austral Canastero Asthenes anthoides

Cordilleran Canastero Asthenes modesta

Sharp-billed Canastero Asthenes pyrrholeuca


Family Tyrannidae • Tyrant Flycatchers

White-crested Elaenia Elaenia albiceps

Tufted Tit-Tyrant Anairetes parulus

Austral Negrito Lessonia rufa

Dark-faced Ground-Tyrant Muscisaxicola maclovianus

Cinnamon-bellied Ground-Tyrant Muscisaxicola capistratus

Fire-eyed Diucon Xolmis pyrope

Chocolate-vented Tyrant Neoxolmis rufiventris

Patagonian Tyrant Colorhamphus parvirostris




Family Hirundinidae • Swallows

Blue-and-white Swallow Pygochelidon cyanoleuca

Chilean Swallow Tachycineta meyeni


Family Troglodytidae • Wrens

House Wren Troglodytes aedon

Sedge Wren Cistothorus platensis


Family Turdidae • Thrushes

Austral Thrush Turdus falcklandii


Family Mimidae • Mockingbirds

Patagonian Mockingbird Mimus patagonicus


Family Motacillidae • Pipits and Wagtails

Correndera Pipit Anthus correndera


Family Thraupidae • Tanagers

Gray-hooded Sierra-Finch Phrygilus gayi

Patagonian Sierra-Finch Phrygilus patagonicus

Mourning Sierra-Finch Phrygilus fruticeti

White-bridled Finch Melanodera melanodera

Yellow-bridled Finch Melanodera xanthogramma

Patagonian Yellow-Finch Sicalis lebruni


Family Emberizidae • Sparrows

Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis


Family Icteridae • New World Blackbirds

Austral Blackbird Curaeus curaeus

Long-tailed Meadowlark Sturnella loyca


Family Fringillidae • Finches

Black-chinned Siskin Sporagra barbata


Family Passeridae • Old World Sparrows

House Sparrow Passer domesticus




Family Dasypodidae • Armadillos

Big Hairy Armadillo Chaetophractus villosus


Family Leporidae • Rabbits & Hares

Old World Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus

European Hare Lepus europaeus


Family Myocastoridae • Nutrias

Nutria Myocastor coypus


Family Camelidae • Camels

Guanaco Lama guanicoe


Family Delphinidae • Dolphins

Peale's Dolphin Lagenorhynchus australis

Commerson's Dolphin Cephalorhynchus commersonii


Family Otariidae • Eared Seals

Southern Sea Lion Otaria flavescens


Family Canidae • Dogs

Southern Grey Fox Pseudalopex griseus

Culpeo Fox Pseudalopex culpaeus


Family Mephitidae • Skunks

Patagonian Hog-nosed Skunk Conepatus humboldti



How to Book


Tour Registration

To book this tour, please complete the online registration form and pay a deposit of US$100 per person. Full payment of the tour fee is due 60 days prior to tour departure.


Cancellation Policy

Notice of cancellation can only be accepted IN WRITING from the person who signed the booking form and takes effect on the day such noticed is received by us.


Refunds are made according to the following schedule:

• If cancellation is made between 120 and 60 days before departure, the deposit is not refundable, but any payments covering the balance of the fee will be refunded.

• If cancellation is made fewer than 59 days before departure date, no refund is available.

This policy and fee schedule also applies to pre-trip and post trip extensions, as well as any transfers from one tour to another. We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance to protect yourself.