Birding South of Valparaíso – Coastal reserves


Birding South of Valparaíso focuses on the main wetlands of Chile’s central coast, as well as scrubland endemics. Early in the morning we will head south from Valparaíso to our first destination, the Maipo River estuary, one of the most important wetlands in Central Chile. Here we’ll find large flocks of gulls, Peruvian Pelicans, Black Skimmers, shorebirds, as well as many other interesting residents and migratory species.

From the viewing platforms above the mudflats we’ll look for Arctic breeding shorebirds that winter in Chile, such as Black-bellied Plover, Whimbrel, Hudsonian Godwit, Red Knot, Sanderling, Baird’s and Semipalmated Sandpiper, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs. We will also look for other resident wader species like Collared Plover, White-backed (Black-necked) Stilt, American and Blackish Oystercatchers, Magellanic (South American) Snipe, and two southern migrants, Two-banded Plover and Rufous-chested Dotterel (present during the autumn and winter).

Along the riverside vegetation and reed-beds, we will look for the Many-colored Rush-Tyrant, Tickling Doradito, Spectacled Tyrant, Fire-eyed Diucon, Wren-like Rushbird, Rufous-tailed Plantcutter, Chilean Mockingbird, Yellow-winged Blackbird and Long-tailed Meadowlark. The dried scrubby areas are also a good place to look for our first endemic of the day – Dusky Tapaculo.

Driving north we’ll visit the small reserve, Humedal Cartagena, a small artificial lagoon that congregates large numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds at close proximity. Here we can see White-tufted, Great and Patagonian (Silvery) Grebes, Black-necked and Coscoroba Swans, Chiloe Wigeon, Cinnamon Teal, Red Shoveler, Lake Duck and Black-headed Duck. Additionally, we can spot three species of Coot, Red-gartered, Red-fronted, and White-winged, as well as Spot-flanked Gallinule.

For lunch we’ll stop at a seaside restaurant, perched on a patch of rocky coast. This is a great place to see the endemic Seaside Cinclodes. From our table we’ll also be able to see Peruvian Booby, Guanay Cormorant and Peruvian Pelican.

After lunch, continuing north, we’ll reach a small ravine with native vegetation where we will find species typical of the scrubland like Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, the skulking Des Murs’s Wiretail, Austral Pygmy-Owl, Giant Hummingbird, Striped Woodpecker, the endemic Dusky-tailed Canastero, among others. Very close to this spot, before heading back, we will make our last stop to search between the reeds for secretive Stripe-backed Bittern.


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


Birding South 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.



  • Birdy and diverse wetlands. A glimpse into local consevation projects.
  • Multiple Chilean endemics



  • 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 Santiago or Valparaiso
  • English speaking guide with birding equipment
  • Snack (water, fruit, cereal bar)
  • Restaurant lunch
  • 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.