Coastal and Forest Birding South of Punta Arenas


Punta Arenas is the main port on the Magellan Straight and a stop on many cruises passing through the southern cone. The coastline and forests south of the city are a great introduction to the birds of these latitudes. On this tour we’ll reach the end of the road (literally) on the southernmost stretch of the continent.

Shortly after leaving the city, on the coast we can find the first Magellanic (Rock) Cormorants, Dolphin Gulls, Magellanic Oystercatchers, Black-browed Albatrosses, and Flying andFlightless Steamer Ducks. Moving south, we find several lagoons and creeks, ideal habitat for Upland Goose, Ashy-headed Goose, Black-faced Ibis, Dark-bellied Cinclodes, Crested Duck, Chiloé Wigeon and the beautiful Long-tailed Meadowlark.

Reaching the Sub-antarctic Forest (Nothofagus) Patagonian Sierra-Finches sing in the canopies and Thorn-tailed Rayadito and White-throated Treerunner scurry along their branches. These forests are also home to the Magellanic Woodpecker and Austral Parakeet.

Roughly 60 kilometers south of Punta Arenas we’ll reach the San Juan Reserve, a protected area destined to conserve a breeding population of the endangered Ruddy-headed Goose, that migrates every winter to coastal Argentina.

This itinerary is quite flexible, ideal for people with limited time in Punta Arenas.

If you have more time, this day trip can easily be extended to a more comprehensive tour of Patagonian birds.

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
  • Activity Level Birding

Private trips can be organized on any day from October to March.



  • The endangered Ruddy-headed Goose on its breeding ground
  • Patagonian specialties Flightless Steamer Duck, Magellan Cormorant, Dolphin Gull
  • The dramatic Magellan Straight and lovely Nothofagus forests



  • Relaxed pace; short easy walks


 Ease of Birding

  • Most species show easily, with some trickier low density species


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

    Starting time: pick-up at your hotel in Punta Arenas around 6:30 a.m. Note this time may vary 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 Punta Arenas around 5:30 p.m.