Ibera Marshes and Subtropical Grasslands

Ibera Marshes is an endemic ecoregion of Argentina located in the center of Corrientes province. Originated by a prehistoric change on the course of the Parana river, it is one of the largest wetlands in South America and its biodiversity is influenced by several major ecoregions: Humid Chaco to the west, Espinal forest in the south, Campo grassland and Atlantic forest to the north-east.

The marshes are incredibly extensive and give refuge to a large number of birds, including three species of bitterns (Pinneated, Striped-back and Least), Jabiru, Azure Gallinule, Ash-throated and Yellow-breasted crakes, Crested Doradito, White-headed Marsh-Tyrant, Black-capped Donacobius, Scarlet-headed Blackbird and a recently described species: Ibera Seedeater. The lagoons with their diverse fish fauna (which include piranhas and the rare South American Lungfish) attract many fish-eating birds, such as 4 species of kingfishers (Ringed, Amazon, Green and American Pygmy), Anhinga and Black-collared Hawk. Southern Screamers, Jacanas, herons and Giant Woodrails are especially abundant, as they have plenty of habitat availabilty.

The forest patches (wih Chaco and Atlantic influence) that naturally grow in the area, are great to look for several species of woodpeckers, such as Pale-crested, Little, Cream-backed and Crimson-crested. Other attractive forest birds include Red-billed Scythebill, Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant, Blue-billed Black-Tyrant and more. But the Espinal forest and savana is the best habitat for some of the most sought-after birds species in the area, such as the Yellow Cardinal and Chaco Eagle, both of them endangered. Other Espinal specialties include Little Thornbird, Brown Cacholote and White-fronted Woodpecker.

Finally, some of the "icons" of Ibera region are actually found in the subtropical grasslands that surround the marshes. The Strange-tailed Tyrant (probably the most attractive bird of the whole area) is only found in such grasslands. Other highly valued birds of the grasslands are the Black-and-white Monjita, Saffron-cowled Blackbird, Sharp-tailed Tyrant, Marsh Seedeater and the rare Sickle-winged Nightjar.

A re-introduction program is currently adding Red-and-green Macaws back to the Ibera bird list, after decades of being extinct in the area.

For all this, Ibera surely deserves to be considered as one of your must-visit destinations during your next trip to Argentina!