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Ruddy-headed Goose Reserve

Forest and Coastal Birding along The Strait of Magellan


Duration: 8-10 hours

Includes: Private Birding Guide, 4x4 vehicle, box lunch and optical gear

Goal: 40-50 species

Dates: All year round  — Bookable Now!

We'll visit

Punta Arenas

Strait of Magellan

Ruddy-Headed Goose Reserve

The end of the southernmost road of the continent

We'll see

Magellanic Woodpecker  —   Kelp Goose  —   Austral Parakeet  —   Magellanic and Blackish Oystercatcher  —   Ruddy-headed Goose  —   Thorn-tailed Rayadito  —   Spectacle Duck  —   Kelp Goose

This one-day birding tour will begin in Punta Arenas, the primary port of call on the Strait of Magellan, a city full of Antarctic exploration history, and a popular cruise ship destination. Here, at the end of the American continent, our tour will take us from a favorite nesting site overlooked by downtown to coastal areas and the Sub-Antarctic forest.

We start downtown on the coast of Punta Arenas, where we find the first Magellanic (Rock) Cormorant nesting in the old piers, the Patagonian endemic Dolphin Gull, Magellanic Oystercatcher, Black-browed Albatross, and Flying and Flightless Steamer Duck.

We begin to drive and move further south, to find several lagoons and creeks, ideal habitat for Upland and Ashy-headed Goose, Black-faced Ibis and the beautiful Long-tailed Meadowlark. This is the same place Ferdinand Magellan or Francis Drake navigated almost 500 years ago, completing the first circumnavigation of the globe.

A few miles ahead, we enter the Sub-Antarctic Forest Ecotone (Nothofagus) with its larger rivers and their deltas. This is where the Thorn-tailed Rayadito covers small branches jumping like no other, (the big issue for photographers!). Also we will look for Magellanic Woodpecker, and Austral Parakeet.

About 60 kilometers (36 miles) south of Punta Arenas, we arrive at the San Juan River Reserve, a protected area because it is the nesting ground of one of the most scarce birds in Patagonia, the endangered Ruddy-headed Goose, which migrates every year from southern Buenos Aires in Argentina to the mouth of this river on the Strait. In this place its also possible to watch South American Tern, White-rumped Sandpiper, more plovers and pelagics.

Many other species are commonly seen on the way, including Dark-bellied Cinclodes, Chiloe Wigeon, Kelp Goose, Patagonian Sierra-finch, and more...

Notes: This is a flexible tour, ideal for people with a short time in the city.

If you like, this tour can be combined with a visit to Parque del Estrecho, a private park that includes the historic Fuerte Bulnes (Fort Bulnes) and an excellent Interpretive Center. This modern center’s exhibits focus on the Magellan Strait’s history as well as the area’s rich ecosystem. There are also good trails for coastal birding, toilet facilities and an excellent gift shop.