Birding the six eco-regions of Salta:
Birding the Arid High Andes
The Arid High Andes begin at 4400 meters and it go to the limit of eternal snow line, not practical for general birding but occasionally visited by experienced guides. It contains the high points in La Cordillera de los Andes, whose altitudes surpass 5000 and 6000 meters above sea level. Typical vegetation are hardy grasses, called ichu, capable of withstanding strong winds and extreme cold, and cushion plants which are adapted to the dry conditions of this region of largely exposed rocks. High altitude peatlands or bofedales are found in some areas with compact vegetation, grasses, rushes and sedges flooded by surface water or by the upwelling of underground acquifers.
San Antonio de Los Cobres, at 3775 m. is a good point to start exploring the High Andes.
From Cauchari to SW the road is going up to Socompa Pass crossing two bigs salt pits, Salar Pocitos and Salar de Arizaro. South of Santa Rosa de Los Pastos Grandes there are a pair of small lakes and a salt pit with a few rivers, mainly dry all year, but good for aquatic birds on some occasions.
Many birds with acuatic requirements struggle to find enough lakes such as: Wilson's Phalarope, Lesser Yellowlegs, Baird's Sandpiper, Golden Plover, Diademed Sandpiper Plover, Twany-throated Dotterel, Greater Yellowlegs, Andean Snipe, Common Gallinule, White-backed Stilt, Speckled Teal, Yellow-billed Pintail, Torrent Duck, Crested Duck, American Coot, Andean Goose, Chilean Flamingo, Andean Ruddy Duck, Puna Plover, Southern Pochard, Puna Teal, Andean Gull, Silvery Grebe, White-tufted Grebe, Puna Flamingo, Horned Coot, Andean Coot, Andean Lapwing, Cinnamon Teal, Andean Flamingo, Giant Coot, Andean Avocet.
Birds represent 60% of total fauna of this area, many of them are ascending birds of the puna. More common birds include Ornate Tinamou, Puna Tinamou, Andean Condor, Turkey Vulture, Puna(Variable) Hawk = Red backed Hawk, Mountain Caracara, Southern(Crested) Caracara, Aplomado Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Rufous bellied Seed Snipe, Gray breasted Seed Snipe. Golden spotted Ground Dove, Bare faced Ground Dove, Gray hooded & Mountain Parakeet, Horned Owl, Band tailed Nightjar, Andean Swift, White sided Hillstar, Andean Hillstar, Giant Hummingbird, Andean Flicker. Common Miner, Creamy rumped Miner, Puna Miner, Rufous banded & Slender billed Miner, Rock Earthcreeper, Scale-throated & Straigh-billed Earthcreeper, White-winged Cinclodes, Steinbach's Canastero, Puna Canastero, Rusty-vented Canastero, Cordilleran Canastero, Plain mantled & Brown-capped Tit-Spinetail, D'Orbigny's Chat Tyrant, Black-billed Shrike Tyrant, White-tailed & Gray-bellied Shrike Tyrant, Puna Ground Tyrant, Ochre-napped Ground Tyrant, Plain-capped & Rufous-naped Ground Tyrant, Cliff Tyrant, Andean Negrito, Yellow-billed Tit Tyrant. Bank Swallow, Blue & White Swallow, Band-tailed Sierra Finch, Black-hooded Sierra Finch, Carbonated Sierra Finch, Red-backed Sierra Finch, Mourning Sierra Finch, Gray-hooded & Plumbeous Sierra Finch, Common & White-winged Diuca Finch, Short-tailed Finch, Tucuman Mountain Finch, Rufous-sided Warbling Finch, Bright-rumped Yellow Finch, Puna Yellow Finch, Greater Yellow Finch, Plain-colored Seedeater, Band-tailed Seedeater, Yellow-rumped Siskin and Black Siskin.
Birding the Pre-Puna
Immediately below the level of the Puna, the Pre-Puna is a narrow fringe between 3400 meters to 2000 meters. In this region it is rainier, with around 200mm per year, mainly in summer. Consequently there is a shrubby steppe, an area of terrestrial bromeliaceas and diverse types of cactus. The most notorious is the big columnar cactus, the same that you can see in Los Cardones National Park, the prefered home for White-fronted Woodpecker. Others species of cactus are arboreal, shruby or trailing mixed with cushion cactuses or the curious saxatils cactus, living inside rock crevices.
Los Cardones National Park was funded in 1966 and in an area of 64,000ha, its preserves a small section of prepuna ecosystem.
In some protected gorges appear small forest of an acacia species called arca that grows 5 meters high, one spiny tree of the mesquite family, el churqui, of 4 meters high, and two shrubs called molle and chilca of 2 meters height. Here its possible to see more diverse birds in the vegetation, although birds that eat on the ground are the best represented in this ecoregion.
You can find here many birds of The Puna that are moving between high and low levels such as Lesser Rhea, Ornate, Brushland, Andean and Puna Tinamou, mixed with Darwin's Tinamou, Elegant-crested Tinamous that don't venture higher. Others are White-tufted Grebe, Least Grebe, Silvery & Pied-billed Grebe, White-faced & Bare-faced Ibis, Chilean Flamingo, Buff-necked Ibis, Wood & Maguari Stork, Speckled Teal, Yellow-billed Pintail, Blue-winged & Cinnamon Teal, Lake & Andean Ruddy Duck, Andean Condor, Turkey Vulture, Black Vulture, White-tailed Kite, Cinereus & Long-winged Harrier, Black-chested Buzzard Eagle, White-tailed Hawk, Red-backed & Harris' Hawk, Mountain, Chimango & Southern Crested Caracara, Aplomado & Peregrine Falcon, American Kestrel, Plumbeous Rail, Southern Lapwing, Tawny-throated Dotterel, Rufous-bellied, Gray-breasted and Least Seed Snipe, Spot-winged, Pale-vented & Band-tailed Pigeon, Bare-eyed, Black-winged and Golden Spotted Ground Dove, Mitred & Blue-crowned Parakeet, Gray-hooded & Mountain Parakeet, Ash-colored & Dark-billed Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Burrowing, Short-eared, Great-horned and Ferrugineous Pygmy Owl, Nacunda Nighthawk, Band-winged, Scissor-tailed & Little Nightjar, White-collared, Rothschild's, Ashy-tailed & Andean Swift, Andean & White-sided Hillstar, Sparkling Violetear, Gilded Sapphire, Giant Hummingbird, Red-tailed Comet, Glittering-bellied Emerald, Blue-tufted Starthroat, Ringed, Amazon & Green Kingfisher, Spot-backed Puffbird, White-barred Piculet, Andean Flicker, Golden-breasted Woodpecker, Field Flicker and White-fronted Woodpecker.
Birds for this biome are : Greater & Lesser Rhea, Ornate, Brushland and Andean Tinamou, Darwin's & Elegans Crested Tinamou, Neotropic Cormorant, Least and Pied-billed Grebe, White-tufted & Silvery Grebe, Stripe-backed Bittern, Black-crowned Night Heron, Striated Heron, Cattle Egret, Snowy & Great Egret, Cocoi Heron, Wood & Maguary Stork, Buff-necked Ibis, White-faced Ibis, Chilean & Andean Flamingo, Andean Goose, Torrent Duck, Speckled Teal, Yellow-billed Pintail, White-cheeked Pintail, Silver Teal, Blue-winged & Cinnamon Teal, Andean Ruddy & Lake Duck, Andean Condor, Turkey, Black & King Vulture, Osprey, White-tailed & Missisippi Kite, Crane Hawk, Cinereus & Long-winged Harrier, Bicolored Hawk, Great Black Hawk, Crowned Solitary Eagle, Savanna Hawk, Puna (Variable) Red-backed Hawk, Black-chested Buzzard Eagle, Harris', Road Side, White-tailed Hawk, Mountain Caracara, Chimango & Southern Crested Caracara, Spot-winged Falconet, American Kestrel, Aplomado & Peregrine Falcon, Chaco Chachalaca, Limpkin, Plumbeous & Spotted Rail, Rufous-sided Crake, Common Gallinule, Red-gartered Coot, White-winged & Red-fronted Coot, Red-legged & Black-legged Seriema, Wattled Jacana, South American Painted Snipe, White-backed Stilt, Southern & Andean Lapwing, Golden Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Collared & Black-bellied Plover, Diademed Sandpiper Plover, Tawny-throated Dotterel, Hudsonian Goodwit, Upland Sandpiper, Greater, Lesser & Solitary Yellowlegs, Common Snipe, White-rumped Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Baird's & Pectoral Sandpiper, Wilson Phalarope, Least Seed Snipe, Andean & Franklin's Gull.
Picazuro Pigeon, Spot-winged & Band-tailed Pigeon, Pale-vented Pigeon, Eared Dove, Picui, Bare eyed, Black-winged & Golden-spotted Ground Dove, White-tipped & White-faced Dove, Blue-crowned Parakeet, Mitred Parakeet, Burrowing Parrot, Monk Parakeet, Gray-hooded & Mountain Parakeet, Scaly-headed Parrot, Ash-colored Cuckoo, Yellow-billed & Dark billed Cuckoo, Guira & Striped Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Tropical Screech & Great Horned Owl, Ferrugineous Pygmy Owl, Burrowing & Short-eared Owl, Common & Nacunda Nighthawk, Band-winged Nightjar, Little & Scissor-tailed Nightjar, Rothschild's Swift, White-collared Swift, Ashy-tailed & Andean Swift, Sparkling & White-vented Violetear, Glittering-bellied Emerald, Gilded Sapphire, White-bellied Hummingbird, Andean & White-sided Hillstar, Giant Hummingbird, Red-tailed Comet, Blue-tufted Starthroat, Ringed, Amazon & Green Kingfisher, Spot-backed Puffbird, White-barred Piculet, White-fronted Woodpecker, Checkered & Golden-breasted Woodpecker, Field & Andean Flicker.
Scimitar-billed & Narrow-billed Woodcreeper, Common Miner, Rufous-banded & Slender-billed Miner, Chaco, Straight-billed, Scale-throated, Rock & Buff-breasted Earthcreeper, Cream-winged & White-winged Cinclodes, Rufous Hornero, Brown-capped Tit Spinetail, Tufted & Plain-mantled Tit Spinetail, Azara's, Sooty-fronted, Pale-breasted and Stripe-crowned Spinetail, Short-billed, Cordilleran, Puno Canastero, Maquis, Rusty-vented, Steinbach's and Puna (Cordoba) Canastero, Streak-fronted and Spot-breasted Thornbird, Lark-like Brushrunner, Wrenlike Rushbird, Brown & White-throated Cacholote, Gray-bellied Shrike Tyrant, Black-billed & White-tailed Shrike Tyrant, White Monjita, Black-crowned Monjita, Rufous-naped, White-browed, Ochre-naped, Cinnamon-bellied, Black-fronted, Plain-capped, Cinereous, Dark-faced & Spot-billed Ground Tyrant, Rufous-backed Negrito, Streak-throated Bush Tyrant, D'Orbigny's, White-browed Chat Tyrant, Black Phoebe, White-winged Black Tyrant, Spectacled Tyrant, Vermillon Flycatcher, Cattle Tyrant, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Variegated Flycatcher, Streaked & Crowned Slaty Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee, Rufous Casiornis, Cliff Flycatcher, Dinelli's & Subtropical Doradito, Many-colored Rush Tyrant, Yellow-billed and Tufted Tit Tyrant, Greater Wagtail Tyrant, White-crested Tyrannulet, White-throated Tyrannulet, White-bellied Tyrannulet, White-crested Elaenia, Large Elaenia, Slaty Elaenia.
Crested & Sandy Gallito, Olive-crowned Crescentchest, White-tipped Plantcutter, Crested Becard, White-rumped Swallow, Brown-chested Martin, Purple & Southern Martin, Blue and White Swallow, Tawny-headed Swallow, Barn & Bank Swallow, Short-billed, Yellowish, Correndera, Hellmayr's & Paramo Pipit, Grass & House Wren, Chalk-browed, Brown-backed, Patagonian & White-banded Mockingbird, Rufous-bellied, Chiguanco & Creamy-bellied Thrush, Masked Gnatcatcher, Rufous-collared Sparrow, Grassland & Stripe-capped Sparrow, Black-hooded, Gray-hooded, Mourning, Plumbeous, Red-backed, Ash-breasted & Band-tailed Sierra Finch, Black-crested, Common Diuca, Short-tailed Finch, Rufous-sided, Black and Rufous & Cinnamon Warbling Finch, Tucuman Mountain Finch, Ringed & Black-capped and Black & Chestnut Warbling Finch, Puna Yellow Finch, Bright-rumped Yellow Finch, Greater Yellow Finch, Greenish Yellow Finch, Saffron & Grassland Yellow Finch, Great Pampa Finch, Rusty-collared & Double-collared Seedeater, Band-tailed & Plain-colored Seedeater, Many-colored Chaco Finch, Red-crested Finch, Red-crested Cardinal, Golden-billed Saltator, Rusty and Slaty Flower Piercer, Dull-colored Grassquit, Tropical Parula, Rufous-browed Pepper-shrike, Golden-winged Cacique, White-browed Blackbird, Yellow-winged Blackbird, Long-tailed Meadowlark, Bay-winged Cowbird, Screaming & Shiny Cowbird, Hooded & Black Siskin, House Sparrow.
The Argentinean Chaco, with 625,000km2, represents one of the wildest areas of Argentina and is the home to more than 500 bird species including:
Greather Rhea, Tataupa Tinamou, Elegant-crested & Quebracho-crested Tinamou, Red-winged Tinamou, Brushland Tinamou, Spotted & Darwin's Tinamou, Turkey Vulture, Yellow-headed & Black Vulture, Pearl & White-tailed Kite, Black-shouldered Kite, Plumbeous Kite, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Crowned Solitary Eagle, Swainson's Hawk, Rufous-thighed Hawk, Bicolored Hawk, Savanna & Roadside Hawk, Black-chested Buzzard Eagle, Harris' & White-tailed Hawk, Barred Forest Falcon, Yellow-headed Caracara, Southern Crested & Chimango Caracara, Spot-winged Falconet, American Kestrel, Bat & Aplomado Falcon, Orange-breasted Falcon, Chaco Chachalaca, Spix's (Dusky-legged) Guan, Red-legged & Black-legged Seriema.
Picazuro Pigeon, Pale-vented & Spot-winged Pigeon, Eared Dove, Blue, Ruddy & Picui Ground Dove, White-tipped Dove, Mitred, Blue-crowned & Green-cheeked Parakeet, White-eyed Parakeet, Peach-fronted & Black-hooded Parakeet, Monk & Canary-winged Parakeet, Scaly-headed & Turquoise-fronted Parrot, Ash-colored & Dark-billed Cuckoo, Guira Cuckoo, Striped Cuckoo, Squirrel Cuckoo, Greater & Smooth-billed Ani, Barn Owl, Tropical Screech Owl, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Tucuman or Chaco Pygmy Owl, Great Horned Owl, Burrowing Owl, Chaco Owl, Rufous-legged & Striped Owl, Stygian Owl, Short-eared Owl, Common Potoo, Common & Nacunda Nighthawk, Band-winged Nightjar, Little & Scissor-tailed Nightjar, Rothschild's Swift, Ashy-tailed Swift, White-vented Violetear, Sparkling Violetear, Glittering-bellied Emerald, Gilded Sapphire, Blue-tufted Starthroat, Spot-backed Puffbird, White-barred Piculet, Blue-crowned Trogon, White-fronted & Checkered Woodpecker, Golden Green & Golden-breasted Woodpecker, Field Flicker, Black-bodied & Cream-backed Woodpecker, Pale-crested Woodpecker.
Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Scimitar-billed & Great Rufous Woodcreeper, Black-banded & Narrow-billed Woodcreeper, Red-billed Scythebill, Chaco Earthcreeper, Rufous & Crested Hornero, Azara's Spinetail, Chotoy Spinetail, Sooty-fronted & Pale-breasted Spinetail, Stripe-crowned Spinetail, Short-billed Canastero, Common & Little Thornbird, Greater & Freckle-breasted Thornbird, Buff-browed Foliage Gleaner, Lesser Shrike Tyrant, Lark-like Brushrunner, Firewood Gathered, Brown Cacholote, Great Antshrike, Barred & Variable Antshrike, Stripe-backed Antbird, White-winged Black Tyrant, Cinereous Tyrant, White Monjita, Gray Monjita, Vermilion Flycatcher, Yellow-browed & Cattle Tyrant, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Variegated & Crowned Slaty Flycatcher, Streaked Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee, Swainson's & Brown-crested Flycatcher, Rufous Casiornis, Tropical Pewee, Pearly-vented Tody Tyrant, Tawny-crowned Pygmy Tyrant, White-crested & White-bellied Tyrannulet, Sooty & Plain Tyrannulet, Euler's Flycatcher, Mouse-colored Tyrannulet, Gray-crowned Tyrannulet, Ochre-faced Tody Tyrannulet, White-napped Xenopsaris, Large & Small-billed Elaenia, Southern Scrub & Suiriri Flycatcher, Southern Bearless Tyrannulet, Crested Gallito, Olive-crowned Crescentchest, Green-backed & White-winged Becard, White-tipped Plantcutter.
White-rumped Swallow, Brown-chested & Gray-breasted Martin, Southern Martin, Rough-winged Swallow, House Wren, Chalk-browed & White-banded Mockingbird, Swainson's Thrush, Rufous-bellied & Creamy-bellied Thrush, Masked Gnatcatcher, Correndera Pipit, Short-billed & Yellowish Pipit, Rufous-collared Sparrow, Tropical Parula, Rufous-browed Pepper Shrike, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue-hooded & Purple-throated Euphonia, Greater Wagtail Tyrant, Blue and Yellow & Sayaca Tanager, Hepatic & Guira Tanager, Ultramarine Grosbeak, Golden-billed & Grayish Saltator, Black-backed Grosbeak, Red-crested Cardinal, Yellow Cardinal, Red crested Finch, Many colored Chaco Finch, Saffron-billed Sparrow, Dark-throated & Double-collared Seedeater, Lined Seedeater, Blue Black & Dull-colored Grassquit, Great Pampa Finch, Grassland Yellow Finch, Saffron Finch, Black-capped Warbling Finch, Ringed & Black and Rufous Warbling Finch, Black-crested Finch, Grassland & Stripe-capped Sparrow, Purplish & Plush-crested Jay, Golden-winged & Solitary Black Cacique, Epaulet Oriole, Chopi Blackbird, White-browed Blackbird, Bay-winged, Screaming & Shiny Cowbird, Hooded Siskin, House Sparrow.
Birding the Chaco Wetlands
The wet habitat in East and Northeast region of Salta province represents a unique ecosystem. Its types of vegetation include non-flooding and annually flooded riverine forests, wetlands, woodlands, savannas, grasslands, halophytic shrubby steppes, and cactus stands. Many birds are living here, such as:
Least Grebe, Pied-billed & White-tufted Grebe, Olivaceus Cormorant, American Anhinga, Pinnated Bittern, Stripe-backed Bittern, Rufescent Tiger Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Whistling & Striated Heron, Cattle, Snowy & Great Egret, Cocoi Heron, Wood Stork & Maguari Stork, Jabiru, Plumbeous & Buff-necked Ibis, Bare-faced & White-faced Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Southern Screamer, Fulvous Tree Duck, White-faced & Black-bellied Tree Duck, White-cheeked Pintail, Orinoco Goose, Muscovy Duck, Rosy-billed Pochard, Speckled & Cinnamon Teals, Comb & Brazilian Duck, Ringed Teal, Yellow-billed Pintail, Blue-winged Teal, Black-headed, Masked & Lake Duck, Osprey, Snail & Missisippi Kite, Crane Hawk, Cinereus & Long-winged Harrier, Great Black Hawk, Black-collared Hawk, Grey & Short-tailed Hawk, Limpkin, Plumbeous & Spotted Rail, Gray-necked & Giant Wood Rail, Yellow-breasted & Ash-throated Crake, Rufous-sided & Paint-billed Crake, Spot-flanked, Common & Purple Gallinule, Red-gartered, White-winged & Red-fronted Coot, Wattled Jacana, South American Painted Snipe, White-backed Stilt, Southern Lapwing, Collared Plover, Common Snipe, Gray-hooded Gull, Large-billed Tern, Black Skimmers.
Ringed Kingfisher, Amazon & Green Kingfisher, Greater & Smooth-billed Ani, Sickle-winged Nightjar, Yellow-throated Spinetail, Wren-like Rushbird, Gray Monjita, Spectacled Tyrant, Pied water Tyrant, White-headed Marsh Tyrant, Dinelli's & Crested Doradito, Warbling Doradito, Tawny-headed, Rough-winged, Bank & Barn Swallow, Purple Martin, White-winged Swallow, Rusty-collared Seedeater, Masked Yellowthroat, Chestnut-Vented Conebill, Yellow-winged, Unicolored & Chestnut-capped Blackbird, Brown and Yellow Marshbird, Scarlet-headed Blackbird.