Birding Eastern Patagonia

10 Days – 9 Nights

Starts in Trelew or Puerto Madryn- Ends in Comodoro Rivadavia.

What our clients say!

On their 2010 private Argentina tour

…”My husband and I just spent a month in Argentina, in the capable hands of Trogon Tours. Everything worked without a hitch. All the hotels were excellent and I can’t say enough about the guides. They were knowledgeable, but, more important, they understood our expectations (photography was number one with us). Please feel free to check out our travel journals at Just click on the link to Travel Journals.”

Gail and Jerry South – Beach Heaven NJ, USA

Jerry and Gail South

The Atlantic coast of eastern Patagonia and its surrounding arid steppes are two rich and productive areas in terms of bird abundance and diversity.

Tour runs on request – Prices based on group size.

The Atlantic coast of eastern Patagonia and its surrounding arid steppes are two rich and productive areas in terms of bird abundance and diversity.

With the Valdes Peninsula and Punta Tombo being the most well known nature preserves in this area, it is worth mentioning that the latter has the biggest nesting colony of Magellanic Penguins on Earth. With roughly 200,000 active nests and with penguins present there between September and March, Punta Tombo offers birders the opportunity to spend time watching not only these penguins, but also many other seabirds and shorebirds, as well as a diversity of steppe dwellers, like three species of Canasteros, two Earthcreepers, Lesser Rheas, Elegant-crested Tinamous and many others. At the end of the southern hemisphere summer, Southern Giant Petrels are present here by the hundreds, since penguins, one of the main food resources for these enormous petrels, molt their feathers at this time of the year, and stand still on the gravel beaches by the thousands.

But there are other areas in northern Patagonia which are, to say the least, as diverse and species-rich as the Valdes and Tombo. The eastern coast of the Province of Río Negro and northern Chubut, are particularly attractive for birders. This is the southernmost limit of the distribution range of a good number of bird species restricted to the dry steppes of southern South America, including many of the Argentine endemics, such as Carbonated Sierra-Finch, Sandy Gallito, Hudson’s Black-Tyrant, Eremobius, Rusty-backed Monjita, White-throated Cacholote and White-headed Steamer-Duck.

To the south of the Valdes Peninsula, in Santa Cruz -the southernmost continental province of the Argentine side of Patagonia- lies the most spectacular marine wildlife reserve of them all: Penguin Island. Located off the coast of Puerto Deseado (Port Desire). This solitary island is home to the only nesting colony of Rockhopper Penguins on the Atlantic coast of South America, and the estuary of the Río Deseado (Desire River) hosts the most incredible array of fauna possibly found outside the Valdes including such unique species as Red-legged Cormorants and Commerson’s Dolphins.

Our Itinerary in a Nutshell

On day 1, you will be received by your tour leader at the airport. On arrival, we will drive northward to the area of San Antonio Oeste, in the Province of Río Negro, where we will spend the balance of this day plus day 2 searching for birds of the Patagonian steppe, including the above mentioned Argentine endemics, and some rarities such as the endangered Yellow Cardinal. It is also in this area where we will have our best chances to see a bird which is normally found in the Pampas region, but gets as far south here: the Greater Rhea. The other species, the Lesser or Darwin’s Rhea is also present, so you’ll be able to sweep the whole family in a day or two! On day 3, we will bird our way down to the Valdes Peninsula where we’ll spend the following two nights. On day 4 we will explore the Valdes in search of specialties including the Austral Rail. On day 5, we will have the opportunity to take a boat tour in the area of Puerto Pirámides. This will give us the chance to see some seabirds, but it is worth mentioning that this place is reputedly the best on Earth to watch Southern Right Whales -not a bird, we know, but great to look at! After lunch we will drive south to Trelew, and will go birding at the local sewage ponds!! Birds seem to love these kinds of places, and it is here where we will have the opportunity to find the most spectacular array of waterfowl, including 7 species of ducks, 2 swans, 3 coots, flamingoes by the thousands and lots of passerines, including the spectacular and minute Many-colored Rush-Tyrant. We will spend the night in the area of the Lower Valley of the Chubut River. Day 6 is when we will pay a visit to the Magellanic Penguin colony of Punta Tombo, with its half a million nesting penguins. It is also here where we will have our best chances to see the only endemic species of duck in Argentina: the White-headed or Chubut Steamer-Duck. After visiting Punta Tombo, we will continue south, along the coast of the South Atlantic Ocean, to finally reach the small village of Camarones, where we will spend the night. On day 7 we will drive from Camarones to the City of Puerto Deseado, where we will spend the following three nights. On days 8 and 9, we will take two boat trips: one to Penguin Island for the Rockhopper Penguins, and the other will be on the estuary of the Deseado River, to see the only nesting colony of Red-legged Cormorants that exists on the Atlantic coast of Patagonia. On day 10 we will drive north, to the City of Comodoro Rivadavia, where the tour ends at the local airport.

Some birds we’ll look for

Greater & Lesser Rhea, Elegant Crested-Tinamou, Rockhopper Penguin, Magellanic Penguin, Red-legged Cormorant, Southern Giant Petrel, Black-browed Albatross, White-headed Steamer-Duck, Patagonian Canastero, Band-tailed Earthcreeper (Eremobius), Rusty-backed Monjita, Carbonated Sierra-Finch, Sandy Gallito, Yellow Cardinal… and roughly 120 more!

Best time to go

This tour is possible from mid September through late March. Regardless, to improve the chances to see the Rockhopper Penguins at Penguin Island, it is advisable to plan the tour to start not earlier than late October.

What is included?

Private transportation for all transfers and excursions. Accommodations on a twin/double basis. Single supplements on request. Full time Trogon Tours’ local guide. All breakfasts, lunches or 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?”