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South America

Sword-billed Hummingbird Ensifera ensifera ©Steve Blain Website

South America is the continent with countries boasting the biggest lists of avifauna… and, in part, it is still wild enough to be turning up new species. From The High Andes with human settlements higher than anywhere else to the river deltas and coastal mangroves, cloud forest and rainforest, desert and pampas the habitat ranges are also as diverse as anywhere on earth.

From the tiny hummingbirds to the giant condors and rheas South America has enough birds in every ecological niche to excite birders everywhere.

However, whilst South America has the most diverse avifauna and an incredible range of habitat offering such a wealth of potential to any naturalist it is also a great cause for concern. Rampant logging, slash and burn agriculture, insensitive development and inappropriate mining techniques are doing their best to lay huge areas waste. Some of the most pressing challenges for conservation are right here. Whilst species of birds are still being discovered many more hover on the edge of extinction.

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 3476

As at November 2016

Useful Reading

Birds of Northern South America, Volume 1 and Volume 2

Robin Restall, Clemencia Rodner and Miguel Lentino Series: HELM FIELD GUIDES 1 2 volumes. Christopher Helm 2006

ISBN: 0713660260

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Collins Field Guide to the Birds of South America: Non-Passerines

From rheas to woodpeckers Jorge R Roderiguez Mata, Francisco Erize and Maurice Rumboll 384 pages, 156 col plates. Harper Collins 2006

ISBN: 0007150849

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Illustrated Checklist: Birds of Southern South America and Antarctica

Martin de la Pena Paperback - 224 pages (September 1997) HarperCollins Natural History

ISBN: 0002200775

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Where to Watch Birds in South America

Nigel Wheatley Paperback - 336 pages (27 October, 1994) Christopher Helm

ISBN: 0713639091

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Useful Information


BirdPlanner is a free site that enables you to generate bird lists for any place in the western hemisphere…

Neotropical Birds

Neotropical Birds Online is an authoritative, online resource for life histories of Neotropical birds. These accounts are intended primarily for ornithologists, especially those based in the Neotropics, but also will prove useful to wildlife biologists, conservationists, amateur ornithologists with strong interests in avian natural history, and biology teachers and students. Neotropical Birds Online is available free of charge. The scope of Neotropical Birds Online is all bird species that regularly occur in the Neotropics, from Mexico and the Caribbean south to southernmost South America. The emphasis is on species that breed within this region, but the eventual goal is to provide accounts for all species that regularly occur within this region….


Neotropical Bird Club


Since 1994 Neotropical Bird Club, which is UK registered charity 1040130, has attracted over 900 members in 50 countries. Membership is open to all who have an interest in the wild birds of the New World tropics and their conservation.

Neotropical Migrant Birds


Neotropical migrant birds are the songbirds that represent over 50%, more precisely, 340 of the 600 species, of North American birds…

Optics for the tropics


Optics for the Tropics, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charity organization providing quality optical equipment in the Caribbean and Latin America where resources are very limited. We distribute equipment to ornithologists and educators working to further bird conservation…

Forums & Mailing Lists


Mailing List

To post to list: avifauna@rcp.net.pe

List contact: birdlife@cipa.org.ec

To subscribe to list: listasrcp@rcp.net.pe


South AmericaNeotropical birds [Español]

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Birding Ecotours

Tour Operator

Birding Ecotours aims to provide world-wide birding experiences of superb quality, while contributing to environmental conservation and disadvantaged communities. Please contact us for detailed information, queries and quotations as we are happy to help you in every aspect of planning your birding holiday.

Clark Expeditions

Tour Operator

Birdwatching, Natural-History, Adventure and Wildlife Expeditions - We are a small tour-company with main office in Salta province, in the Andean North of our country. Totally devoted to the Ecotourism and Nature-based Expeditions, our programs include Wildlife Safaris to the National Parks, Trekking and Natural-History Tours, all over northern Argentina. We specialise in Birdwatching Tours, which we operate at the highest quality throughout southern South America including some of the most important areas often with the most difficult access, in the Paraguayan Chaco, the Brazilian Pantanal, the Amazonian and Yungas forests of Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. We cater to both, individuals with tailor-made itineraries and groups being operated by overseas companies.

GuidedBirding - The International Bird Guiding Register

Tour Operator

Many travellers seek the services of a competent guide to help them find the birds in areas across the globe that are new, exciting but frustratingly unfamiliar to them. One of the biggest problems that travellers face is how to find that guide. Up until now that is… GuidedBirding.com is a new and innovative website developed to provide a single resource on the Web for locating a reliable guide in countries across the world. A valuable, and much needed point of contact that is beneficial to both traveller and guide…

Kolibri Expeditions

Tour Operator

Kolibri Expeditions provides birding trips to all corners of South America. We are based in Lima, Peru. General Director is Gunnar Engblom, a well known tour leader and bird guide…

Lost World Adventures

Tour Operator

Lost World Adventures arranges specialised tours and expeditions in South America and other exotic New World destinations. Our company was founded in 1986, when we pioneered our first adventure trips into Venezuela. We now arrange travel throughout Latin America, including Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador and Galapagos Islands, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Argentina.

Manu Expeditions

Tour Operator

Our bird watching trips are lead by very experienced neo-tropical ornithologists. we pride ourselves on the quality of our leaders and support staff, not to mention our office staff in Cusco that make things work.

Rainforest Cruises


...are a travel company that specialises in Amazon river tours and Galapagos cruises

Trip Reports


Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Ecotourism in America


This is a website entirely devoted to nature based travel in the Americas. Here you can find a detailed description of each establishment organized by name, country or activity…


Aves de Los Andes


Ecology, biology & photography of the birds of the Andes - Argentine, Chile, Bolivia & Perú… Publicado por Dr. Enrique Richard

Southern Cone Travel


This blog began in November 2007 as a supplement to my Moon Handbooks on Argentina, Buenos Aires (plus coastal Uruguay), Chile (plus Easter Island), and Patagonia (plus the Falkland/Malvinas Islands). The intention is to provide updated travel information, and to explore related themes in more detail than a guidebook's page count permits….

Other Links



Welcome to InfoNatura, a source for conservation information on the birds and mammals of Latin America and the Caribbean—more than 5,500 common, rare, and endangered species in 44 countries and territories. InfoNatura is a product of the Association for Biodiversity Information in collaboration with Conservation Data Centers in 12 Latin American and Caribbean countries.



Xeno-canto hosts over 1400 species from Colombia, Peru and Brazil, over 1300 from Ecuador, over 1200 from Bolivia and more than 1100 from Venezuela…

Photographers & Artists

Lee Dingain's Photostream


Several of my friends have mentioned that they've never seen the photos I take on my travels, so in response I've decided to set up a Flickr account. So far I've only created a few photo sets (all of South America), with the Galapagos being the most complete set, but I'll be adding many more photos over the next few days and weeks…