Birding the Iberá Marshes

Iberá Marshes

This is a new destination we are proud to offer to our clients. Why we choose to go there? Because to visit Iberá marshes the easiest and more convenient way is start from either from Uruguaiana, city served by daily flights from Porto Alegre or from Iguazu falls. This allow you to visit Southern Brazil and then take and extension to the Ibera Marshes, homeland of Strange-tailed Tyrant.

Iberá marshes is one of the largest and most important freshwater macro systems, and for this reason the RAMSAR Convention for Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) designates the “Lagunas y Esteros del Iberá” as a Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar site) on January 18, 2002. The marshes and lakes of Iberá and its ecosystem have, without a doubt, one of the Argentina’s most outstanding biota and host a superb assortment of rare and scarce tyrants and seedeaters. It is accessible by land from Iguazu Falls, the famous world largest waterfall.

Our birding tour will concentrate in finding all the specialties from the Iberá marshes, which tend to be found nearly only here and no where else. The bird specialties are not little brown jobs or obscure flycatchers which its only attractiveness is to be rare. Birds specialties here are rare and beautiful, some of them very beautiful which make the trip to see them worth it.

Iberá marshes are so beautiful and plenty of birds that a comparison with the Pantanal of Mato Grosso is almost immediately. But slightly differences pop to our eyes and are these differences which are worth visiting both places. Iberá marshes boast a birdlist of over 300 species, numbers of individual birds are less abundant in Iberá, quality overwhelming quantity indeed, but we could see Jabiru, Maguari, Wood Stork, Snail Kite, Southern Caracara, Monk Parakeet, Greater Thornbird but other birds are more common than in the pantanal, White-faced Ibis, Long-winged Harrier, Paraguayan Snipe, crakes in general.

Other peculiarity is the ecological convergency among both wetlands, in Iberá marshes Gray-necked Wood-Rail is replaced by Giant Wood-Rail, abundant and tame, some walking around in the grounds of our hotel. White-rumped Monjita is replaced by the immaculate White Monjita, Campo Flickers by Field Flickers, and there is no other place where Red-crested Cardinals are so abundant. Even species shared in both places are different, the race of Narrow-billed Woodcreeper is enormous and striped below, not purely white (looks very different and is maybe a good split), another example is the race melanolaimus of Green-barred Woodpecker, sometimes considered as a full species, in this case will be called Golden-breasted Woodpecker.

Laguna Iberá also offers a unique opportunity to see Spot-flanked Gallinule, Rufous-sided Crake, Paraguayan Snipe, Sooty Tyrannulet, Long-tailed Reed-Finch, Chesnut-capped, Scarlet-headed & Unicolored Blackbirds.

But the bird which is worth a visit to Iberá marshes is the unique Strange-tailed Tyrant, a stravanganza in all senses, two long feathers come out from the tail and are proudly flagged in fly while this superb tyrant fly catches and display for the female. It is in Iberá marshes where the stronghold population of this species is found and no other place is so reliable to see one or ten!

Spotted Nothura may cross the road several times while song of Red-winged Tinamou echoes in the grasslands.

Birds seen in our scouting trip and not found in the pantanal are Strange-tailed Tyrant, Yellow Cardinal, Scimitar-billed Woodcreeper, Firewood-Gatherer, Great Pampa Finch, Lesser Grass-Finch, Chimango Caracara, Yellow-rumped & Brown-and-yellow Marshbirds, White-rimmed Warbler, Black-capped Warbling-Finch, Cream-backed Woodpecker, Saffron-cowled Blackbird, Black-and-white Monjita. By the way, other wildlife were quiet a surprise as well, Marsh Deer, capybara, Black-and-gold Howler monkey, Jaguarundi, Cavy and Cayman, were seen during our short scouting trip.

04 Days / 03 Nights Birding Iberá Marshes Itinerary

Day 01. Our tour will start from the city of Foz de Iguassu (Brazil) or Puerto Iguazu (Argentina). After breakfast we will start our tour going to the Iberá marshes, open country is the predominant landscape, along the road Chimango Caracara is the most common raptor, and Field Flicker and White Monjita start showing up. We will stops several times, especially in marsh areas where Yellow-rumped and Brown-and-Yellow Marshbirds share habitat with White-browed Blackbirds. Arrival at our lovely lodge, where Giant Wood-Rail walks around totally confident, will depend on flights schedule. Our lodge is located at Colonia Pellegrini, a small town at the margins of Laguna Iberá, the largest in the whole wetland.

Days 02 and 03. Two full days birding this unique biota by foot, car and boat will fill our checklist with many birds among them Strange-tailed Tyrant, Yellow Cardinal, Scimitar-billed Woodcreeper, Brown Cacholote, Lark-like Brushrunner, Stripe-crowned Spinetail, White-tipped Plantcutter, Firewood-Gatherer, Great Pampa Finch, Lesser Grass-Finch, Chimango Caracara, Yellow-rumped & Brown-and-yellow Marshbirds, White-rimmed Warbler, Black-capped Warbling-Finch, Cream-backed Woodpecker, Saffron-cowled Blackbird, Black-and-white Monjita, Maguari Stork, Gray-hooded Gull, Spot-winged, Picazuro & Eared Pigeons, Red-crested & Yellow Cardinals, Dark-throated, Rusty-collared Seedeaters, Grassland Yellow-Finch, Saffron Finch, Grayish & Green-winged Saltator.

Day 04 Pre-breakfast birding and after breakfast transfer back to Brazil, during the morning we will stop several times birding the road back to city of Foz de Iguazu and searching for birds we already had not seen. Lunch on route.

INCLUDED: Tour starts and ends in Foz de Iguazu, 03 overnights, all meals from lunch at day 01 to lunch at day 04, entrance park fees, outings as described, ground transportation, local English speaking ornithologist guide.

NOT INCLUDED : Air tickets to Foz de Iguazu, any kind of beverages including mineral water, medical costs or hospitalization, insurance, personal expenses as laundry, phone calls, etc.

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