Argentina

Ultimate Argentina Raptor Safari


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Argentina boasts an impressive 63 species of diurnal raptors. On this tour we will target 52 of them including rare, local, and threatened species such as Crowned, and Montane Solitary Eagles, Spot-winged Falconet, and Orange-breasted Falcon.

 

Die Verpflegung war wiederum optimal, gewöhnungsbedürftig die ortsüblichen spätabendlichen Mahlzeiten mit riesigen Rindersteaks. Die Unterkünfte waren wieder an traumhaften Orten, das Preis-Leistungs-Verhältnis der Reise wiederum optimal."

Dr. Dieter G. Haas, Germany. 2015 Edition

Montane Solitary Eagle (Buteogallus solitarius), by Yeray Seminario.
Montane Solitary Eagle, adult soaring over the forest.
© Y. Seminario

Tour starts in Buenos Aires, a world-class tourist destination in its own right. From there we will fly to Misiones, in the northeast where the species-richest biome in the country, the Atlantic Forest, is home to Swallow-tailed, Plumbeous, and Rufous-thighed Kites, Black-and-white, Black, and Ornate Hawk-Eagles, Short-tailed and Roadside Hawks and Barred and Collared Forest Falcons, to mention a few. We will visit the world-famous Iguazu Falls, of course.

Driving across a complex mosaic of wet grasslands, swamps, gallery paranaense forests, and humid chaco forests of northern Corrientes and eastern Chaco provinces we will target Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Snail, and White-tailed Kites, Great Black Hawk, Black-collared, Savanna, and White-tailed Hawks, and Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle. Also present here are Yellow-headed, Chimango, Crested Caracaras, and American Kestrel. This is where we should encounter our first Long-winged Harriers of the tour, and with a little luck Pearl Kite, too. This raptor assemblage closely resembles that of other large wetlands/grasslands in South America such as the Pantanal in central Brazil, or the Llanos of Venezuela.

Palm trees and pond in wet Chaco, Argentina by Sergio Seipke
Small ponds like this one in the wet chaco are prime habitat for Black-collared Hawk.
© S. Seipke

Further west in the dry chaco forest and recently cleared agricultural land in Chaco, Santiago del Estero, and Salta provinces we should encounter Bay-winged Hawks, increasingly commoner White-tailed Hawks, and if we are lucky a Crane Hawk or two. With all probability we will see several Aplomado Falcons here, and maybe even one or two Peregrines.

In the wetter foothills of the subtropical Andes of Jujuy province we will target several forest raptors including White-rumped, Rufous-thighed, Bicolored, and with a little bit of luck Broad-winged Hawks. But the ultimate raptor prizes in this biome are Montane Solitary, and Black-and-chestnut Eagles, and Orange-breasted Falcons—of which a resident pair has recently been discovered.

Leaving the humid foothills of the Andes behind we will drive up to the highlands characterized by the cacti-rich pre-puna and grassy puna in the Quebrada de Humahuaca—a UNESCO World Heritage site—and beyond. Andean Condors, Variable (some would say “Puna”) Hawks, and Mountain Caracaras, Aplomado Falcons, and cute Vicuñas, Llamas, and Guanacos will be our reward for venturing up there.

In the monte desert of Mendoza we will target Crowned Solitary Eagle and Spot-winged Falconet, at confirmed breeding sites. Mendoza is also one of the finest wine regions in Argentina (and the world), so those willing to enjoy some authentic Argentine Malbec will be delighted here.

To wrap it all up, in the dry pampas of northern La Pampa province we will look for the huge (10,000+ birds) flocks of Swainson’s Hawk that congregate here to prey upon grasshoppers. We should see all imaginable plumages, ages and morphs.

This tour combined with our Raptors & Pumas of Patagonia tour will allow you to target 57 species of raptors, plus Pumas, in three weeks—an absolute record for any raptor tour we have run so far in South America!

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Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive at Ministro Pistarini International Airport (IATA code: EZE), Buenos Aires. Transfer to our hotel. Chimango and Crested Caracaras may be seen on the ride to the hotel… but don’t unpack your optics yet, we’ll see more of them later again, promise! Eat lunch with fellow hawkwatchers ending the “Raptors & Pumas of Patagonia” tour. Relax at our hotel and maybe take a nap. Then enjoy a raptor slideshow and talk by Sergio Seipke in the evening. Dinnertime in Argentina is a little late, compared to American and northern European standards. Around 8 PM we will head for what is arguably the best stake house in town, where we’ll treat ourselves with some prime beef and wine for dinner. Overnight in Buenos Aires.

Day 2

Breakfast at the hotel, and then catch our flight to Puerto Iguazú. Check in our hotel. Then visit the falls where we should see Black and Turkey Vultures, Swallow-tailed, and Plumbeous Kites. An Osprey shows up sometimes as well. Dinner and overnight is in Pto. Iguazú.

Day 3

Super early start (4.30 AM) to target Collared Forest Falcon. Then back to hotel for breakfast, and out again to target soaring raptors including Rufous-thighed, Gray-headed Kites, and with a little luck Ornate Hawk-Eagle. Back at the hotel we’ll enjoy a late lunch, take a short nap, and visit a raptor rehab center in the afternoon, or try forest falcons again in case we haven’t seen them yet. Eat dinner at pizza place & overnight in Pto. Iguazú.

Day 4

Yes, you guessed right: forest falcon searches, meaning we will start early today, too. We will try to get perched looks and photos of Plumbeous Kite and other raptors sunning early in the morning. Breakfast at the hotel, and out to drive around looking for soaring raptors including King Vulture, Short-tailed Hawk, and Black-and-white Hawk Eagle. Lunch at San Sebastián de La Selva, or picnic. Dinner & overnight in Reserva Karadyá or back to Iguazú. (Depending on results of previous days.)

Day 5

Early start. Search for Barred Forest Falcon in a private reserve or near Iguazú. Then breakfast and checkout. We will target soaring raptors in Urugua-í PP including Black-and-white, Ornate, and Black Hawk-Eagles. Look for Rufous-thighed Hawk in Araucaria plantations near Puerto Esperanza after lunch. Drive south to Posadas in the afternoon. Dinner & overnight in Posadas.

Day 6

Today we can sleep through 7 AM; probably a welcome change after three days of early starts! After breakfast and checkout, we’ll drive through wet grasslands and marshy areas targeting raptors such as Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Long-winged Harrier, White-tailed, and Black-collared Hawk, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, and others. We will visit a Pearl Kite site today—a rare species in Argentina. From today on we will be in Crowned Solitary Eagle country, a species that though rare in northern Argentina could “pop up” virtually anywhere. In the afternoon we will reach Mburucuyá, in Corrientes province, where we will drop our luggage at our hotel and drive the road to Mburucuyá National Park looking for raptors. After dinner we may drive around a bit to see some mammals including Crab-eating Fox, Capybara, Gray Brocket, and if we are really lucky, even a Maned Wolf. Dinner & overnight in Mburucuyá.

Day 7

Breakfast and checkout. Mostly a driving day but with many stops for raptors including Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Snail Kite, Long-winged Harrier, Savanna, Great Black, and White-tailed Hawks, and perhaps Mississippi Kite and Zone-tailed Hawk, and Laughing Falcon. Lunch en route. Dinner and overnight in Aviá Teraí.

Day 8

Early breakfast and checkout. This is mostly a driving day through dry chaco where we should see Bay-winged (Harris’s) Hawk, and several Aplomado Falcons. Towards the end of the day we will reach the foothills of the Andes, an area originally covered with chaco serrano, a transitional forest to the cloud forest of higher elevations. Dinner and overnight in Santa Bárbara.

Day 9

Today we will target one of the gems of this trip: the Orange-breasted Falcon! Of course we may see other raptors as well including Crane and Short-tailed Hawks, and Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle. Picnic lunch or lunch at the posada depending on weather and results. Dinner and overnight in Santa Bárbara.

Day 10

Optional forest falcon search early in the morning. Then breakfast and horseback ride to get to higher areas where King Vulture, Andean Condor, White-rumped Hawk, and Montane Solitary, and Black-and-chestnut Eagles are likely. If we are lucky we might even see an overwintering Broad-winged Hawk or two. Picnic lunch. Checkout in the afternoon and drive to Purmamarca. Dinner and overnight in picturesque Purmamarca.

Day 11

After breakfast we will drive the Quebrada de Humahuaca—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—and beyond to Abra Pampa. This is one of the most scenic drives in northern Argentina. The Quebrada is a deep valley that runs north to south, and is flanked by multicolored mountains. It used to serve as a major cultural road, the Camino del Inca (Inca Road). The bottom of the valley, on the alluvial plains of Río Grande, is lined with naturally occurring grasslands, while the the upper reaches of the Quebrada are dotted with cardones, age-old cacti typical of pre-puna habitat.

Purmamarca, Jujuy, Argentina.
Picturesque Purmamarca, near the Quebrada de Humahuaca, will be our base for two nights.
© S. Seipke

Beyond the Quebrada lays the puna plateau: vast expanses of rolling hills covered with high grassy steppe physiognomy. Here we should find several examples of the highly variable… yes, Variable Hawk. Birds up here tend to have rather noticeably broader, rounder wings than their lowland counterparts, a reason why some authorities consider them a different species, the Puna Hawk. We should see Andean Condor, and Aplomado Falcons, which are a different subspecies up here, pichinchae, and more richly colored. It is also here in the puna where we expect to see Mountain Caracara, a species found at much lower elevations further south, but mostly restricted to pre-puna and puna habitat north of the Tropic of Capricorn. Lunch in Abra Pampa. Dinner and overnight in Purmamarca.

Day 12

Today we will leave fascinating, raptor-rich, profoundly beautiful northwestern Argentina. After breakfast and checkout we will drive to Salta stopping for raptors on the way. There we will eat lunch and catch our flight to Mendoza. After transfer and checking-in at our hotel, we’ll go out to taste some highly regarded Malbec Mendocino (wine tasting). Dinner and overnight in Mendoza.

Day 13

Early breakfast. Then explore the monte, desert shrub where three species of creosotebush (Larrea spp.) dominate the landscape. This is prime habitat for one of our most important target species on this tour: the Crowned Solitary Eagle, of which we will visit an active nest today. We’ll spend some time near the nest hoping to see some eagle action, and if we are lucky, perhaps a prey delivery at the nest. Of course we will keep a safe distance in order not to disturb this Endangered species. We should also see other raptors including Aplomado Falcon, and of course, another special bird in this tour: the Spot-winged Falconet. Picnic lunch. Dinner and overnight in Mendoza.

Day 14

Another driving day for the most part. Breakfast and checkout. Then spend some more time with Crowned Solitary Eagle, then head east to northern La Pampa. Lunch en route. Dinner and overnight in private estancia in northern La Pampa.

Day 15

Swainson’s Hawks Day! Breakfast and checkout, then drive around looking for the huge multi-thousand bird flocks in northern La Pampa. This is mostly agricultural lands and an extensive net of dirt roads will serve us well to approach the hawks feeding on grasshoppers. We should see pretty much every plumage variation there is, ranging from the lightest of all the almost pure-white juveniles to the darkest jet-black adults, and everything in between. We will practice our aging and sexing ID skills. Unlike at migration hawk-watches in North and Central America, we should see many hawks up close here. Picnic lunch. Then drive to Trenque Lauquen. Dinner and overnight in Trenque Lauquen.

Day 16

Drive to Buenos Aires, and catch evening flights home. Extra nights near the airport or in Buenos Aires can be arranged upon request.

Target SpeciesDownload as checklist in PDF format

Common Name

  1. Turkey Vulture
  2. Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture
  3. Black Vulture 
  4. King Vulture
  5. Andean Condor
  6. Osprey
  7. White-tailed Kite 
  8. Pearl Kite
  9. Gray-headed Kite
  10. Hook-billed Kite
  11. Swallow-tailed Kite
  12. Black Hawk-Eagle
  13. Black-and-white Hawk Eagle
  14. Ornate Hawk-Eagle
  15. Black-and-chestnut Eagle
  16. Rufous-thighed Kite
  17. Tiny Hawk
  18. Rufous-thighed Hawk
  19. Bicolored Hawk
  20. Long-winged Harrier
  21. Mississippi Kite
  22. Plumbeous Kite
  23. Black-collared Hawk
  24. Snail Kite
  25. Crane Hawk
  26. Savanna Hawk
  27. Great Black Hawk
  28. Montane Solitary Eagle 
  29. Crowned Solitary Eagle
  30. Roadside Hawk 
  31. Bay-winged Hawk 
  32. White-rumped Hawk
  33. White-tailed Hawk
  34. Variable Hawk
  35. Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle 
  36. Broad-winged Hawk 
  37. Short-tailed Hawk
  38. Swainson’s Hawk 
  39. Zone-tailed Hawk
  40. Mountain Caracara
  41. Southern Crested Caracara
  42. Yellow-headed Caracara
  43. Chimango Caracara
  44. Laughing Falcon
  45. Barred Forest Falcon
  46. Collared Forest Falcon
  47. Spot-winged Falconet
  48. American Kestrel 
  49. Aplomado Falcon 
  50. Bat Falcon 
  51. Orange-breasted Falcon
  52. Peregrine Falcon

MAMMALS

  1. Jaguarundi (rare)
  2. Maned Wolf (rare)
  3. Crab-eating Fox
  4. South American Coati
  5. Azara’s Agouti
  6. Brocket Deer
  7. Vicuña
  8. Guanaco
  9. Llama
  10. Capybara

​Latin name

  1. Cathartes aura
  2. Cathartes burrovianus
  3. Coragyps atratus
  4. Sarcoramphus papa
  5. Vultur gryphus
  6. Pandion haliaetus
  7. Elanus leucurus
  8. Gampsonyx swainsonii
  9. Leptodon cayanensis
  10. Chondrohierax uncinatus
  11. Elanoides forficatus
  12. Spizaetus tyrannus
  13. Spizaetus melanoleucus
  14. Spizaetus ornatus
  15. Spizaetus isidori
  16. Harpagus diodon
  17. Accipiter superciliosus
  18. Accipiter erythronemius
  19. Accipiter bicolor
  20. Circus buffoni
  21. Ictinia mississippiensis
  22. Ictinia plumbea
  23. Busarellus nigricollis
  24. Rostrhamus sociabilis
  25. Geranospiza caerulescens
  26. Buteogallus meridionalis
  27. Buteogallus urubitinga
  28. Buteogallus solitarius
  29. Buteogallus coronatus
  30. Rupornis magnirostris
  31. Parabuteo unicinctus
  32. Parabuteo leucorrhous
  33. Geranoaetus albicaudatus
  34. Geranoaetus polyosoma
  35. Geranoaetus melanoleucus
  36. Buteo platypterus
  37. Buteo brachyurus
  38. Buteo swainsonii
  39. Buteo albonotatus
  40. Phalcoboenus megalopterus
  41. Caracara plancus
  42. Milvago chimachima
  43. Milvago chimango
  44. Herpetotheres cachinnans
  45. Micrastur ruficollis
  46. Micrastur semitorquatus
  47. Spiziapteryx circumcincta
  48. Falco sparverius
  49. Falco femoralis
  50. Falco rufigularis
  51. Falco deiroleucus
  52. Falco peregrinus

MAMMALS

  1. Puma yagouaroundi
  2. Chrysocyon brachyurus
  3. Cerdocyon thous
  4. Nasua nasua
  5. Dasyprocta agouti
  6. Mazama spp.
  7. Vicugna vicugna
  8. Lama guanicoe
  9. Lama glama
  10. Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris
Cathartes aura Cathartes burrovianus Coragyps atratus Sarcoramphus papa Vultur gryphus Pandion haliaetus Elanus leucurus Gampsonyx swainsonii Leptodon cayanensis Chondrohierax uncinatus Elanoides forficatus Spizaetus tyrannus Spizaetus melanoleucus Spizaetus ornatus Spizaetus isidori Harpagus diodon Accipiter superciliosus Accipiter erythronemius Accipiter bicolor Circus buffoni Ictinia mississippiensis Ictinia plumbea Busarellus nigricollis Rostrhamus sociabilis Geranospiza caerulescens Buteogallus meridionalis Buteogallus urubitinga Buteogallus solitarius Buteogallus coronatus Rupornis magnirostris Parabuteo unicinctus Parabuteo leucorrhous Geranoaetus albicaudatus Geranoaetus polyosoma Geranoaetus melanoleucus Buteo platypterus Buteo brachyurus Buteo swainsonii Buteo albonotatus Phalcoboenus megalopterus Caracara plancus Milvago chimachima Milvago chimango Herpetotheres cachinnans Micrastur ruficollis Micrastur semitorquatus Spiziapteryx circumcincta Falco sparverius Falco femoralis Falco rufigularis Falco deiroleucus Falco peregrinus

Suggested Field Guides

Erize, F., M. Rumboll, and J. Rodriguez-Mata. 2006. Birds of South America: Non-Passerines: Rheas to Woodpeckers. Princeton University Press, New Jersey. 

Ferguson-Lees, J., and D. A. Christie. 2005. Raptors of the World. Paperback Edition. Princeton University Press, New Jersey. 

Narosky, T., and D. Izurieta. 2004. Birds of Argentina & Uruguay: a Field Guide. Vazquez Mazzini Editores, Buenos Aires.

Need to Know

Tour Dates & Availability

Available Year-Round

CONTACT US TO SCHEDULE A TOUR

Group Size Limit

10 participants (minimum: 3)

Tour Price

$6,420 per person

Single Supplement

$630

Raptor Species Expected

40

Country Entry Requirements

Varies according to nationality

Difficulty

Easy

Comfort

Good to Very Good

Weather & Clothing

Hot! Some chilly evenings | Bring a hat, sunglasses, raincoat or folding umbrella, a light jacket, and a swimming suit!

Health

Yellow fever and malaria present although rare

Local Currency

Argentine peso

Tour Map

Argentina Tour map
Click on the map to see more details

Tour Guide

Sergio Seipke

 

Sergio Seipke (Argentina) has been watching, studying, and photographing raptors in the country since 1993. He is working on Raptors of South America, the first raptor field guide to the sub-continent (Princeton University Press).

Tour Showcase

Plumbeous Kite (Ictinia plumbea), juvenile by Sergio Seipke.
Juvenile Plumbeous Kite. Note long primaries projecting beyond the tail tip.
© S. Seipke
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura ruficollis), by Sergio Seipke.
Turkey Vulture, adult. Widespread “ruficollis” subspecies has a noticeable white nape.
© S. Seipke
Savanna Hawk (Buteogallus meridionalis), perched by Sergio Seipke.
Unlike the adults, juvenile Savanna Hawks are highly variable in plumage.
© S. Seipke
Savanna Hawk (Buteogallus meridionalis), adult flying by Sergio Seipke.
Strikingly beautiful Savanna Hawk is common in open areas in northern Argentina.
© S. Seipke
Ornate Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus ornatus), adult by Pablo Mosto.
Ornate Hawk-Eagle is a powerful predator that frequently soars above the forest.
© P. Mosto
Collared Forest Falcon (Micrastur semitorquatus), adult buff form by Sergio Seipke.
Collared Forest Falcon, usually a secretive species, perches exposed early in the morning.
© S. Seipke
Raptor ID Quiz - Raptours, LLC
Our raptor safaris focus on raptor ID. What's your guess on this guy?
© S. Seipke
Barred Forest Falcon (Micrastur ruficollis), adult by Sergio Seipke.
Finding Barred Forest Falcons is hard work, but it pays off!
© S. Seipke
Black-collared Hawk (Busarellus nigricollis), adult flying by Sergio Seipke.
Black-collared Hawks favor vegetated ponds in wet chaco.
© S. Seipke
Long-winged Harrier (Circus buffoni), adult male, light morph by Sergio Seipke.
Light, adult male Long-winged Harrier.
© S. Seipke
Aplomado Falcon (Falco femoralis femoralis), adult by Dario Podesta.
Two sub-species of Aplomado Falcon occur in Argentina. We will see them both very well. “Femoralis” (in this pic) is restricted to the lowlands.
© D. Podestá
Bay-winged Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus), adult flying by Sergio Seipke.
Harris's Hawks east of the Andes never attain plain flight feathers. These populations may represent a separate species, the Bay-winged Hawk.
©
S. Seipke
Orange-breasted Falcon (Falco deiroleucus), adult male by Juan Ignacio Areta.
The Orange-breasted Falcon is one of the rarest falcons in the world.
© J. I. Areta
White-rumped Hawk (Parabuteo leucorrhous), adult calling by Sergio Seipke.
White-rumped Hawk calls a high-pitched shrill: a territorial behavior.
© S. Seipke
Aplomado Falcon (Falco femoralis pichinchae), adult female by Donald Bryant.
Aplomado Falcons in the puna are decidedly larger, more richly colored, and sport an open vest.
© D. Bryant
Mountain Caracara (Phalcoboenus megalopterus), adult flying by Sergio Seipke.
Mountain Caracara is rather tame. We should get good views of it up the puna.
© S. Seipke
Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus), adult female by Dario Podesta.
Andean Condor. Adults like this female are jet-black underneath.
© D. Podestá
Variable Hawk (Geranoaetus polyosoma), basic II, dark by Sergio Seipke.
Dark immature (basic II) Variable Hawk.
©
S. Seipke
Crowned Solitary Eagle (Buteogallus coronatus), juvenile by Roberto Pereyra Lobos.
Crowned Solitary Eagle. Juveniles have rather longish, plain tails, and solid-black thighs.
© R. Pereyra Lobos
Spot-winged Falconet (Spiziapteryx circumcincta), by Sergio Seipke.
Spot-winged Falconet is nearly endemic to Argentina.
© S. Seipke
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus cassini), adult flying by Sergio Seipke.
 Peregrine Falcons can “pop-up” anywhere during this tour!
© S. Seipke
Roadside Hawk (Rupornis magnirostris pucherani), juvenile by Sergio Seipke.
Three sub-species of Roadside Hawk can bee seen in this tour.
© S. Seipke
Swainson's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni), adult female by Sergio Seipke.
Adult female, light morph Swainson's Hawk. Note brown cheek.
© S. Seipke
Swainon's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni), light morph, adult male by Sergio Seipke.
Swainson’s Hawk. Light adult males have gray cheeks.
© S. Seipke

Terms


Raptours, L.L.C. reserves the right to alter this itinerary as necessary, or to cancel the tour prior to departure, with full refund to participants.

Raptours, L.L.C. or its agents may decline to accept or retain any person as a member of this tour at any time.

No smoking will be permitted while with the group, either when indoors or in the field.

Travel medical insurance is strongly recommended.

All passengers will be required to sign a hard copy of the Release of Liability and Assumption of Risk form upon meeting with the tour leader in Buenos Aires.

No participants will be allowed in the group without a signed copy of the Release of Liability and Assumption of Risk form.

Release of Liability and Assumption of Risk Form
(including Terms)
Download as PDF