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Five reasons to go bird watching in Uruguay

A rich biodeiversity in a small terrain make Uruguay a must-visit place for bird lovers. Short distances, strategic placement, different environments, protected areas and care for endangered species are some of the reasons why. Check them out in yout next visit!

Uruguay has at least five reasons why you can’t miss it if you are passionate about nature and biodiversity. We share reccommendations by Biologist Adrián Azpiroz to prepare your bird watching trip. Take notes!

1) Small country, short distances

“Uruguay is a small country with many birds (480 registered species, with 2 to 3 new additions, in average, every year). This country is home to half of the species found in Argentina, and a quarter of those found in Brasil, in an area that is 15 and 48 times smaller, respectively)

Due to the good road infrastructure, you can reach any point in the country within hours. This means less time driving and more time watching birds. The possibility to visit multiple habitats within hours makes for long list of species (more than 120 in a day)

2) “Uruguay Natural”

Uruguay has some of the best preserved green pastures of the pampa biome (which extends from Eastern Argentina to the Southern end of Brazil) The country brand, Uruguay Natural, promotes a wide range of products and services, from tourism to agricultura. Even if higher preservation standards are needed, Uruguayan landscapes are still home to a significant population of native birds.

3) Strategic location: Pampa, Chaco, atlantic birds and more

Southeast South America, where Uruguay is located, is a transition zone between tropical and tempered climates (North and South, respectively) Here, the pampa biome (with natural grasslands as its main ecosystem) mixes with different types of ofrests, including those similar to Chaco and the Atlantic.

Migratory birds from distant regions enrich local fauna. During Winter, visitoris from the South (like albatross and petrels) give a Patagonic vibe to the water environments, while those from the North (mostly from the Atlantic coast) make for a rich diversity during Spring and Summer.

4) Different types of habitats: prairie, forest, hills, beach

Adding to the biome diversity, there’s a diversity of ecosystems that provides a great heterogeneity of habitats for both birds and wildlife in general. Apart from grasslands and forests, Uruguayan terrain has many rivers and streams, more than five hundred kilometres of coastline along Rio de la Plata and the Atlantic Ocean, more than fifty islets, hills, plains, salt water marshes, forests, and ravines. Open spaces such as marshes and grasslands are a hallmark of the Uruguayan landscape, making birds easier to find and watch.

5) Pampa native and globally endangered species

Most of pampa native birds can be easily found in Uruguay. This is also true for many birds wich are globally endangered , like the Greater Rhea (NT), Austral (NT), Magellanic Penguin (NT), White-Chinned Petrel (VU), the Olrog’s Gull, the dwarf carpenter (NT), Curutié, White Monjita (VU), Dragonbird (VU), Coffee Throat Capuchinbird (NT) y and the Grey-Headed Capuchinbird(VU), are all very common in Uruguay.

Other, more scarce species can be found in particular places: the Redbird (NT), Yellow Cardinal, White-chested Capuchin (EN), and the Pampean Loica (VU). Even less predictable birds such as the Blue Raven (NT) can be found during bird watching trips.¨

*Note: Accoring to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Endangered species are classified in the following categories: “NT” = nearly endangered, “VU” = vulnerable; and “EN” = endangered.

Where to go bird watching?

Images: Wild Punta del Este, Adrián Azpiroz.