Birding North of Valparaíso – Penguins and Wetlands


In Birding North of Valparaíso we’ll drive along the coast to a reserve on the estuary of the Mantagua River. Here large groups of waterfowl congregate: including Chiloé Wigeon, Cinnamon Teal, Red Shoveler, Yellow-billed Pintail, Spot-flanked Gallinule, Red-gartered Coot, Red-fronted Coot, among others. In the reed-fringed edged of the river we can find Many-colored Rush Tyrant, Wren-like Rushbird, Plumbeous Rail and Yellow-winged Blackbird. Many shorebirds also feed and rest in this area such as Baird’s Sandpipers, Sanderling, Whimbrel, American Oystercatcher and Black-necked Stilt. In the rolling dunes bordering the beach we can also find Common Miner and Austral Negrito.

On the pleasant paths through native vegetation we’ll look for species like Picui Ground Dove, Green-backed Firecrown, Striped Woodpecker, Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail, Tufted Tit-Tyrant, Fire-eyed Diucon, Chilean Mockingbird, Rufous-tailed Plantcutter, Long-tailed Meadowlark, Austral Blackbird, and Black-chinned Siskin. In the scrubby vegetation we’ll look for two Chilean endemics: Dusky-tailed Canastero and Dusky Tapaculo. This area is also a good area to look for the scarce Great Shrike-Tyrant.

After relaxed picnic lunch we’ll head north to visit one of Central Chile’s largest Humboldt Penguin colonies. Roughly 300 pairs nest on this small islet. Other species of note in this area are Peruvian Booby, Peruvian Pelican, Red-legged and Guanay Cormorants. This is also an excellent place to look for the endemic Seaside Cinclodes, that favors the rocky shoreline, and the timid Marine Otter, playing among the kelp forests.

On our way back to Valparaiso we’ll stop at an Inca Tern colony, one of the most ornately plumaged birds of the Humboldt Current. We’ll be able to enjoy these spectacular birds at very close proximity, with full scope views of their elegant ‘moustache’ and see their peculiar courtship displays.


Note that this tour can also be start from San Antonio, for those landing there on Cruise Ships.


Birding North of Valparaíso can easily be combined with a Pelagic trip into the Humboldt Current from Valparaíso.

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
  • Activity Level Birding

Private trips can be organized on any day from September to May.



  • Stunning species like Many-colored Rush-Tyrant and Inca Tern
  • Humboldt Penguin colony
  • Relaxed full day along the pacific coast



  • Relaxed pace; short easy walks


 Ease of Birding

  • Most species show easily, with some trickier skulking species


  • Transport (1-3 SUV, 4-6 minivan)
  • Pick up/drop off at your hotel in Valparaíso/port
  • English speaking guide with birding equipment
  • Snack (water, fruit, cereal bar)
  • Picnic
  • Park entrance fee
  • eBird checklists for the day’s stops

    Starting time: pick-up at your hotel in Santiago around 6:30 a.m. Note that starting may vary slightly depending on time of sunrise.

    See map insert for an overview of the route and main hotspots visited during the tour.

    Ending time: drop-off at your hotel in Santiago around 5:30 p.m.