Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

Oriental Republic of Uruguay

Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis ©Adam Riley Website

Uruguay (official full name in Spanish: República Oriental del Uruguay) is a country located in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to 3.46 million people, of whom 1.7 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area. The economy is largely based on agriculture (making up 10% of GDP and the most substantial export) and the state sector. Uruguay's economy is on the whole more stable than in its surrounding states, and it maintains a solid reputation with investors.

Uruguay's only terrestrial border is with Brazil to the north. To the west lies the Uruguay River, to the southwest lies the estuary of Río de la Plata, with Argentina only a short commute across the banks of either of these bodies of water, while to the south-east lies the South Atlantic Ocean. Uruguay's surface is 176.214 km² being by its territorial extension the second smallest country in South America, larger only than Suriname and the French overseas department of French Guiana.

At 176,214 square kilometres (68,036 square miles) of continental land and 142,199 square kilometres (54,903 sq mi) of jurisdictional waters and small river islands, Uruguay is the second smallest sovereign nation in South America (after Suriname) and the third smallest territory (French Guiana is the smallest). The landscape features mostly rolling plains and low hill ranges (cuchillas) with a fertile coastal lowland. A dense fluvial network covers the country, consisting of four river basins or deltas; the Río de la Plata, the Uruguay River, the Laguna Merín and the Río Negro. The major internal river is the Río Negro 'black river'. Several lagoons are found along the Atlantic coast.

The highest point in the country is the Cerro Catedral at 513.66 meters (1,685 ft 3 in) in the Sierra Carapé hill range. To the southwest is the Río de la Plata, the estuary of the Uruguay River, which forms the western border, and the Paraná River, that does not run through Uruguay itself.

The climate in Uruguay is temperate: it has warm summers and cold winters. The predominantly gently undulating landscape is also somewhat vulnerable to rapid changes from weather fronts. It receives the periodic influence of the polar air in winter, and tropical air from Brazil in summer. Without mountains in zone that act as a barrier, the air masses freely move by the territory, causing abrupt weather changes. The coolest month is June, while the warmest is January. The rainfall is equally distributed throughout the year, but tends to be a bit more frequent in the autumn months. There can be frequent thunderstorms in the summer. Although snow is not very common, it snowed in 1913, 1918, 1930, 1962, 1963, 1975, 1980, 1989, 1991, 1992, and 2007. One of the coldest winters (from 1951) was 2007: Tºjuly average 7,6°C Montevideo-Carrasco airport , Tºjuly average 6,8°C Florida city.

National extreme temperatures sea level are, Paysandú city 44.0°C (01-20-1943) and Melo city -11.0°C (06-14-1967).

Agriculture played such an important part in Uruguayan history and national identity until the middle of the twentieth century that the entire country was then sometimes likened to a single huge estancia (agricultural estate) centered around Montevideo, where the wealth generated in the hinterland was spent, at its casco or administrative head.

Today, agriculture contributes roughly 11% to the country’s GDP and is still the main foreign exchange earner, putting Uruguay in line with other agricultural exporters like Brazil, Canada, and New Zealand. Uruguay is a member of the Cairns Group of exporters of agricultural products. Uruguay’s agriculture has relatively low inputs of labor, technology, and capital compared to other such countries, which results in comparatively lower yields per hectare but also opens the door for Uruguay to market its products as 'natural' or 'ecological'.



GNU Free Documentation License


Number of Species

Number of bird species: 474

As at November 2016




iGoTerra Checklist

Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web

Useful Reading

Aves del Uruguay

Lista e Introducción a su Biología y Conservación Adrian B Azpiroz 104 pages, col photos, dist maps. Adrián Azpiroz 2003

ISBN: 9974393299

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of Argentina and Uruguay

A Field Guide by T Narosky and D Yzurieta 337 pages, 2000 colour illus, line drawings, maps. Vazquez Mazzini Editores 2003

ISBN: 987913205X

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

Grupo Uruguayo para el Estudio y la Conservacion de las Aves

(GUPECA) is the BirdLife Affiliate
Adrian Stagi, Casilla de Correo 6955, Correo Central, Montevideo. + 598 2 9022362 gupeca@adinet.com.uy

National Bird

Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis


Centro de Investigacion Alternativa en Ambiente y Educacion

El Centro de Investigación Alternativa en Ambiente y Educación (CIAAE) es una organización ambientalista uruguaya no gubernamental (ONG) sin fines de lucro, dedicada a la investigación, educación, promoción, y divulgación de la tematica ecologico-ambiental en todas sus manifestaciones desde el año 1991.

Grupo Guayubira


An organisation encouraging conservation of the rain forest etc. El grupo Guayubira, Grupo Ambientalista sobre Montes y Forestación, fue creado en mayo de 1997, para nuclear a personas y organizaciones preocupadas por la conservación del monte indígena y por los impactos socioeconómicos y ambientales del actual modelo de desarrollo forestal impulsado desde el gobierno.

Grupo Uruguayo para el Estudio y la Concervacion de las Aves (GUPECA)


Grupo Uruguayo para el Estudio y la Concervacion de las Aves (GUPECA) [Casilla de Correo 6955, Montevideo, Uruguay] Es una organización no gubernamental (ONG) dedicada a la investigación y conservación de todas las especies de aves silvestres del Uruguay, enmarcadas dentro de criterios de desarrollo sustentable en la utilización de los recursos naturales, cuyo fin último es la mejor calidad de vida del ser humano…



PROBIDES is a Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development Program for the Eastern Wetlands of Uruguay. It has been in existence since 1993, suppported by the UNDP with funds provided by the GEF, the European Union, other International Agencies, and the Uruguayan Government. It is governed by a Board composed of the Municipality of Rocha (where most of the wetlands are located); the University of Uruguay, and the Ministry of Housing, Territorial Planning and the Environment.


Abbreviations Key

Arboretum Lussich


Satellite View

During December 1979, 182ha (450 Acres approx.) was donated to the Municipality of Maldonado and then opened to the public. The Arboretum Lussich is one of the most important Forest Reserves in the world in terms of its tree species….

Areas Protegigidas en Uruguay


Protected areas, parks etc… La Asociación de Guardaparques del Uruguay, ha querido hacer este folleto informativo sobres nuestras áreas naturales protegidas (ANP); para divulgar tanto sus valores como los peligros que afrontan. [Pdf]

Laguna de Rocha


Satellite View

Uruguay has several coastal lagoons in the southeastern and eastern part of the country. Many of them, including Laguna de Rocha, are comprised in the Biosphere Reserve designated by Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB) of UNESCO…

Ramsar Stes


Uruguay currently has 3 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 435,837 hectares...

Forums & Mailing Lists


Mailing List

Grupo de estudio y conservación de las aves del Uruguay.

Guides & Tour Operators

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

Birding Pal


Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Trip Reports

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


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.

2010 [01 January] - Douglas Faulder


…Into Montevideo, Uruguay this morning in threatening weather. I headed out to walk about the city after breakfast. The light rain soon turned into a torrential downpour, sending us back to the ship. After lunch things cleared up a bit so I ventured out in to the old city near the dock. Rather rundown looking and in need of a lot of infrastructure work. I walked straight south about 8 blocks until I hit the south shore of the point that the docks were on. Then I walked west along the shore to a breakwater, and a small playing field at the shore end of the breakwater. On this walk I saw House Sparrow, Rock Pigeon, Rufous Hornero, Chalk-browed Mockingbird, Kelp Gull, Brown-hooded Gull, Southern Lapwing, Snowy Egret, Neotropical Cormorant, Tropical Kingbird and Brown-chested Martin…

2010 [02 February] - John van der Dol

PDF Report

…Sixteen days on the luxury cruise ship the “Star Princess” was the order of the day for this year’s family holiday. It was also the only way the whole family would ever stand a chance of visiting the Antarctic at a price we could afford…


Universidad de la República


The zoology department of the national university…

Other Links

Aves de Uruguay


Protection and conservation of the birds of Uruguay…

Aves del Uruguay


An on line ornithology manual…

Fauna Nativa del Uruguay


Uruguay's fauna…



Photographic guide to birds of Argentina, Chile & Uruguay…

Join Uruguay


… advice, free information and photos guide of bird watching in Uruguay

Projeto Cardeal-Amarelo


Ecology and conservation of the critically endangered Yellow cardinal…

Yellow Cardinal Project


Ecology and conservation of the critically endangered Yellow cardinal…