Birding Argentina's Northwest


13 Days – 12 Nights

Starts in Salta – Ends in Tucumán


What our clients say!

On his 2009 Bolivia birding and nature tour.

…”Thanks Miguel for your outstanding care, perfect personality, great patience and wealth of knowledge…

…the trip was a resounding success. We loved Bolivia!!”…

Chris Van Lonkhuyzen






Northwestern Argentina is a land full of spectacular landscapes and with a vast cultural heritage. Remnants of buildings and roads from the “Great Inca Empire of the Sun” can still be found everywhere here, and many cultural events and pre-Hispanic rituals, such as that in honor of the “Pacha Mama” (Mother Earth), are still celebrated by the locals. Andean music is heard everywhere, and people still play their traditional instruments. This incredibly varied region has a great diversity of natural habitats, ranging from Yungas Cloudforest to dry Chaco Woodlands. The three provinces in the northwesternmost part of Argentina, Jujuy, Salta and Tucuman, host some pristine representatives of these habitats, all worth visiting for birders to find both diversity and good numbers of native species.



Tour runs on request – Prices based on group size.

Northwestern Argentina is a land full of spectacular landscapes and with a vast cultural heritage. Remnants of buildings and roads from the “Great Inca Empire of the Sun” can still be found everywhere here, and many cultural events and pre-Hispanic rituals, such as that in honor of the “Pacha Mama” (Mother Earth), are still celebrated by the locals. Andean music is heard everywhere, and people still play their traditional instruments. This incredibly varied region has a great diversity of natural habitats, ranging from Yungas Cloudforest to dry Chaco Woodlands. The three provinces in the northwesternmost part of Argentina, Jujuy, Salta and Tucuman, host some pristine representatives of these habitats, all worth visiting for birders to find both diversity and good numbers of native species.

Forming a wedge along the southern Andean chains of Bolivia and northwestern Argentina, the Yungas Cloudforest supports one of the greatest biological diversities in the Neotropics. It harbors a wide variety of forests and woodlands, each hosting its own and unique community of flora and fauna, and all varying according with their altitudinal ranges. Wildlife is abundant in this humid environment. Ferns, bromeliads and other epiphytic plants are particularly stunning here, and they cover every single corner of the forest. This biological treasure is well protected within the boundaries of several national parks and nature reserves, and we plan to explore it thoroughly in different areas.

Just south the Humahuaca Valley, lies the small village of Yala and the Yala River, which is bordered by lush Yungas cloudforest. Exploring this area is a must for birders, since it is here where chances are high to find such unique species as Rufous-throated Dipper, Torrent Duck, Red-faced Guan and Lyre-tailed Nightjar. A local reserve just above Yala protects a good stand of pure Alder forest, offering great chances to visit yet another habitat, with its own and particular wildlife. Continuing north, and up to higher elevations, we will leave behind the Yungas and the Alder forest, to enter the pre-Puna. The Andes in this part of Argentina are very dry, but they are crossed by a series of humid valleys, with Humahuaca standing out for its unique setting. Nestled amidst spectacular rock formations of the most incredible and diverse colors, this is the heart of one of the richest cacti flora on Earth, and home to a wide array of birds, mammals and other wildlife. Lake Pozuelos Natural Monument, a mountain ringed basin with shallow brackish water lies some 90 km. north of Abra Pampa, in the heart of the Puna. It harbors thousands of Andean, Chilean and Puna Flamingoes so we hope to witness the spectacle of large concentrations of these creatures amidst the solitude and grandeur of High Andean landscape.

After visiting the Humahuaca Valley area, we will drive back into the Province of Salta, where we plan to explore the Chaco habitats. The Chaco is a very particular ecosystem, mainly a thorny woodland, which covers most of the northernmost part of Argentina, and it is is well divided into a dry, a montane and a wet area, each of them with different flora and fauna. We will spend three days exploring the Chaco, searching for its unique birds.

No birding tour to northwestern Argentina would be complete without visiting the Andean habitats of the famous Cachi Road, an area well reputed among birders the world over for the quantity and quality of bird species present here. We will follow this road on our way to los Cardones National Park, looking for birds like Aplomado Falcon, Andean Flicker, Rock Earthcreeper, White-tipped Plantcutter, Brown-capped Tit-Spinetail, Yellow-billed Tit-Tyrant, White-winged Black-Tyrant, Black Siskin, Rufous-sided Warbling-Finch and the localized Rufous-bellied Saltator.

The last bit of our journey will take us to the south of Salta and on into the Province of Tucuman, to explore two wonderful habitats: the Monte at the Calchaqui Valleys, and the mountains of the Aconquija. The latter is home to several specialities including White-browed Tapaculo, White-winged Cinclodes, Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant, Paramo Pipit, Buff-breasted Earthcreeper, Cordilleran and Puno Canasteros, Gray-hooded Parakeet, Slender-billed Miner, and even three endemics: Tucuman Mountain Finch, Yellow-striped Brush Finch and Moreno’s Ground-Dove.

Our Itinerary in a Nutshell

Our meeting point is at the airport of the City of Salta on day 1. We will spend this afternoon plus day 2 and the morning of day 3 exploring the Yungas and montane forests of Salta and Jujuy, specially near Yala. We will drive up the Humahuaca Valley in the afternoon of day 3, to finally get to the Puna that same evening to spend the night in Abra Pampa. We will devote day 4 to explore Lake Pozuelos Natural Monument. On day 5 we will bird our way down from the Humahuaca Valley to the Chaco habitats near General Güemes. On day 6 we will explore the habitat along the lowlands of the Juramento River searching for specialities like Turquoise-fronted Amazon, Toco Toucan, Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant and Great Rufous Woodcreeper. We will spend day 7 exploring the dry Chaco habitat near Joaquín V. González and on day 8, we will bird along the Juramento River once again, searching for Great Black Hawk, Yellow-chinned Spinetail and the beautiful Olive-crowned Crescentchest to finally get to the village of Moldes. Day 9 will be dedicated to the Cachi Road and Los Cardones National Park, and on day 10 we will bird the Monte habitat on our way down to Cafayate. Day 11 is when we explore the Aconquija, and in the evening, we get down to Tafi del Valle in the Province of Tucuman. On day 12 we will have another chance to enjoy the Yungas habitat near Tafi, to clean sweep some species that we might have missed before, and finally head down to the City of Tucuman. After an early breakfast on day 13, we will bird the surroundings of Tucuman to search for some specialties like Firewood Gatherer, Collared Plover and Xenopsaris, and then drive to the local airport where our tour ends.


Some birds we’ll look for

Yungas: Dot-fronted and Cream-backed Woodpeckers, Mitred Parakeet, Scaly-headed Parrot, White-bellied Hummingbird and Rufous-capped Antshrike. The long list of passerines includes White-winged Becard, Brown-capped Redstart, Stripe-crowned and Azara’s Spinetails, Buff-browed Foliage-Gleaner, Rough-legged and Sclater’s Tyrannulets, Mountain Wren, Fulvous-headed and Stripe-headed Brush-Finches, Fawn-breasted Tanager and Golden-winged Cacique.

Humahuaca and Pozuelos: Tawny-throated Dotterel, American Golden Plover, Least Seedsnipe, Andean Gull, Mountain Caracara, Andean Flicker, Golden-spotted Ground-Dove, Ornate Tinamou, Andean Goose, Andean Avocet, Crested Duck, Puna Teal, Andean, Horned and Giant Coots, Puna Plover and several North American migrants such as Baird’s and Pectoral Sandpipers and Wilson’s Phalarope.

Chaco: Spot-winged Falconet, Chaco Chachalaca, Gilded Sapphire, Checkered and White-fronted Woodpeckers, White-barred Piculet, Brown Cacholote, Scimitar-billed Woodcreeper, such as Crested Gallito, Stripe-backed Antbird, Variable Antshrike, Cinereous Tyrant, Swainson’s Flycatcher, Greater Wagtail-Tyrant, Hepatic Tanager and Ultramarine Grosbeak.

Monte: White-throated Cacholote, Sandy Gallito, Burrowing Parrot (northern race), Chaco Earthcreeper, Spot-winged Pigeon, Blue-and-yellow Tanager, White-banded Mockingbird, Black-crested Finch, White-crested Tyrannulet, White-fronted Woodpecker and Black-legged Seriema.


Best time to go

Given the wide altitudinal range covered during this tour, and the diversity of habitats, we strongly recommend to go in September, October and November, to seize the best possible weather conditions everywhere. Having said this, it is worth mentioning that the area can be visited year round.


What is included?

Private transportation for all transfers and excursions. Accommodations on a twin/double basis. Single supplements on request. Full time Trogon Tours’ leader to accompany the group from day 1 in Salta to day 13 in Tucumán. All breakfasts, lunches, box-lunches and dinners. No drinks included. Admission fees to all national parks and nature reserves.


What is not included?

International and domestic airfares and airport taxes. Tips to guides, drivers, hotel & restaurants personnel, etc. Drinks with your meals. Personal travel and medical insurance. Anything not specified in “What is included?”


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