Maguari Stork © Jorge La Grotteria
Southern Screamer © Jorge La Grotteria
Snail Kite © Jorge La Grotteria
White-naped Xenopsaris © Stuart Laughton
Straight-billed Reedhaunter © Jorge La Grottería
South American Painted-Snipe © Marcelo Gavensky
Southern Entre Ríos © Marcelo Gavensky
The south of Entre Ríos province is a real birding hotspot and a paradise for birdwatchers. This is because of the very high diversity of birds that can be found in a one-day tour, the many rare species among them, and the abundance of some, which can be counted in thousands.
The landscape includes some well preserved patches of espinal forest, savanna-like landscapes, wetlands and areas of grassland with agricultural exploitation. Everything is located approximately 200 km north of Buenos Aires city.
There are many specialties. The diversity of Furnariids, linked to the relatively well status of the espinal forest in this area, is remarkable. The list includes species such as Lark-like Brushrunner, Little Thornbird, Scimitar-billed Woodcreeper, Brown Cacholote, Stripe-crowned Spinetail, Short-billed Canastero, Chotoy Spinetail, Tufted Tit-spinetail and the range restricted Bay-capped Wren-Spinetail, Sulphur-throated Spinetail, Curve-billed and Straight-billed Reedhaunters, among many others.
Other interesting forest and savanna species include a resident population of White-tipped Plantcutter, White-fronted Woodpecker, White Woodpecker, White-barred Piculet, Rufous-capped, Variable and Great antshrikes, the conspicuous White Monjita and the winter visitor Black-crowned Monjita. Some areas close to Uruguay river show a riverine forest which is great for Atlantic forest's species such as the Diademed Tanager and White-browed Warbler.
The Greater Rhea has a stronghold in this area, such as its close relatives Red-winged Tinamou and Spotted Nothura. The different types of grasslands where these species inhabit are also great for pipits, with 4 species in the area (Correndera, Hellmayr's, Short-billed and Yellowish).
Aquatic species are abundant (depending on the amount of raining throughout the year), with many remarkable birds like Southern Screamer, Maguari and Wood storks, Limpkin, Roseate Spoonbill and more. In the appropriate season, thousands of Snail Kites can be seen flying over the marshes. Other raptors include Savanna Hawk, White-tailed Hawk, the summer visitor Swainson's Hawk, Long-winged and Cinereous harriers. The marshes and humid fields found within this area constitute important stops in the migration of many plovers and sandpipers, and huge flocks of these birds are commonly seen during the southern hemisphere summer.
At dusk, nocturnal species take over the skies with big flocks of Nacunda Nighthawk. Little Nightjar and the stunning Scissor-tailed Nightjar are other specialties of this region. Owls are many, although most of them have extensive distribution ranges.
All these species would be enough reason for any birdwatcher to visit Southern Entre Ríos, but there is more. The highlights of this area are the endangered species such as Saffron-cowled Blackbird, Chestnut Seedeater, Rufous-rumped Seedeater and Marsh Seedeater. Other scarce and declining summer visitor species include Upland and Buff-breasted sandpipers. A relictual population of Yellow Cardinal is also present in the area, although still very threatened and hard to find.
Besides the birds, other interesting animals that can be found in this area are Pampas Fox, Common Hog-nosed Skunk, Lesser Grison and the skulking Geoffroy's Cat, as well as the much more common Coypu (or "Nutria"), Pampas Cavy and different species of water turtles. Also, this is one of the best preserved natural areas around Buenos Aires city, with a strong cultural heritage of Gaucho traditions and is common to have a close encounter with it when travelling to southern Entre Ríos.