Birdwatching in Iguazu Falls area

Ramiro Rodriguez
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As I informed you in my previous articles, Iguazu Falls is a must-see if you visit Argentina or Brazil. It´s a unique place in South America, declared recently as one of the new 7-wonders of nature. Now, if you´re a bird lover, you have to know that the Iguazu Falls area and surrounding offer important bird diversity.
Located 80 kilometers East of the Iguazu Falls with an exciting bird list of over 320-bird species! (yes 320!) identified and registered, the exclusive Yacutinga Private Reserve and the comfort of Yacutinga Lodge guarantee a successful birding expedition.

 

Bird diversity in the Iguazu Falls area. Characteristics of the area

Iguazu Falls area belongs to the phytogeographical area of the Parana Forest. This is one of the most bio-diverse areas in Argentina. The main characteristics that generate this exuberant Nature are its warm climate, constant humidity, and the lack of dry seasons, and changing climate. Environmental conditions make the area of Iguazu a sort of giant greenhouse. This is a completely green, stubborn, and many a times, impenetrable forest. The forest structure becomes apparent in its different plant strata, which provide more than 320 bird species listed in Yacutinga with shelter, food, and reproduction sites.

The highest Forest stratum, which reaches 30 meters in height, includes adult trees that form an uninterrupted roof of ramifications and dense foliage. This is the stratum that filters and administers the right amount of sunlight to the lower strata.

The smallest trees, between 3 and 10 meters high, make up to the so-called intermediate stratum. Its discontinuous canopy, presence of young trees to renew the forest, several fruit trees, bamboos, and arborescent ferns, characterizes this layer.

The lowest stratum, up to 3 meters from the ground, receives little sunlight. Broad-leafed grasses, a large number of smaller ferns, and non-woody plants like begonias are abundant. This vegetal group covers and dresses the forest ground.

Other characteristics of this forest are the presence of two palm species, Pindo (Syagrum romanzoffianum) and Palmetto (Euterpe edulis), the latter being endangered; there are also a number of bamboos that proliferate between the low and the intermediate strata of the forest. Tacuara Guazú (Guadua angustifolia), with its 30 meters in height, is outstanding.

It is important for the bird-watcher to know and to identify the tree species of the environment visited. Most bird species find shelter to nest in certain trees; frugivorous species, for example, concentrate at certain times and on certain trees in a daily search for food, mainly wild fruits. Knowing the ecology of jungle trees and how to identify them is an essential tool for all bird watchers.
Bird abundance in this natural district is relevant.

 

Bird diversity. What we can find in the Iguazu Falls area?

Some birds inhabiting the high forest stratum are Rufous-thighed Kite, Rusty-margined Guan, White-eyed Parakeet, Reddish-bellied Parakeet, Spot-billed Toucanet, Saffron Toucanet and White-necked Puffbird.

Yellow-fronted, Lineated and White-spotted Woodpeckers, Ochre-breasted Foliage -Gleaner, Spot-backed Antshrike, Rufous-winged Antwren, Streak-capped Antwren, Black-tailed and Black-crowned Tityra, Long-tailed Tyrant, Streaked and Boat-billed Flycatchers, Sirystes, Short-crested Flycatcher, Yellow-olive Flycatcher, Greenish and Gray Elaenia, Southern-beardless Tyrannulet, Greenish Tyrannulet, Pale-breasted Thrush, Eastern-slaty Thrush, Cream-bellied Gnatcatcher, Rufous-crowned Greenlet, Chestnut-vented Conebill, Blue Dacnis and Guira Tanager.

In the area of the central marsh of Yacutinga Private Reserve, we can see Limpkin, Muscovy Duck, Green Ibis at twilight, always an Everglade Kite, and Wattled Jacana. Also, Slaty-breasted Wood Rails often flying across the roads of the area.

When navigating down the San Francisco Stream, we go through its galleries to identify Rufescent-Tiger Heron, the elusive Sungrebe, Greater Ani, Swallow-tailed Manakin, White-browed Foliage-gleaner, White-winged Swallow, and River Warbler.

Along the interpretation trails in Yacutinga Lodge, it is common to observe Brown Tinamou, a Solitary Tinamou at times, Gray-fronted Dove, if we are lucky, a Pavonine Cuckoo; we can discover an Ochre collared Piculet, Grey-bellied Spinetail, Rufous-breasted Leafscraper, Rufous-capped Spinetail, Large-tailed Antshrike, Tufted Antshrike, White-shouldered Fire-eye, Short-tailed Antthrush can always be heard, RufousGnateater, White-throated Spadebill, Fuscous Flycatcher, Red-crowned Ant-Tanager and Chestnut-headed Tanager.

In the intermediate stratum, characterized by vines and epiphytes, we can observe Black-throated Trogon, Surucua Trogon, RufousMotmot, una pair of Green-barred Woodpecker, the magnificent Blond-crested Woodpecker, White-browed Woodpecker, and the White-throated Woodcreeper, PlanaltoWoodcreeper, Plain-winged Woodcreeper and Lesser Woodcreeper.

Plain Xenops, Plain Antvireo, Bertoni´sAntbird, Chestnut-crowned Becard, Green-backed Becard, and the rest of White-bearded Manakin, Band-tailed Manakin, Wing-barred Manakin.The Yellow Tyrannulet, Euler´s Flycatcher, Ochre-faced Tody-Tyrant, Eared Pygmy-Tyrant and Sepia-capped Flycatcher.The White-necked Thrush, Black-goggled Tanager, Ruby-crowned Tanager, Green-winged Saltator and Ultramarine Grosbeak.

Sin título-8 garden areas surrounding the lodge are ideal to comfortably observe Blue-winged Parrotlet, Scaly headed Parrot, Red-capped Parrot, Scale-throated Hermit. Violet-capped Woodnymph, Chestnut-eared Aracari, Plush-crested Jay, some Swallow-Tanagers. We can make a close observation of Purple-throated Euphonia and the Chestnut-bellied Euphonia, Magpie Tanager, Hepatic Tanager, the noisy Red-rumped Caciques and the Epaulet Orioles.
When floating down the waters of the Iguazu River, we can see Black-collared Swallow and White-winged Swallow, Herons, Kingfishers and probably some birds of prey.

In the plantations and grassland areas near Yacutinga Private Reserve, we can observe TataupaTinamou and Small-billed Tinamou, Plumbeous Kite, Pale-vented and Picazuro Pigeons, Striped Cuckoo, White-eared Puffbird, Tawny-crowned Pygmy-Tyrant, Yellow-bellied Elaenia and the impressive Red-crested Finch.
Maybe we can enjoy the high flight of a King Vulture, surely Turkey Vulture and Black Vulture. Also, Great Dusky Swift, Ashy-tailed Swift; in summertime, a group of Swallow tailed Kites, and some eagles.

Night hours are ideal for observation walks with powerful lights to discover Black-banded Owl, Rusty barred Owl and Mottled Owl. Tropical Screech-Owl, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl.Semicollared Nighthawk, Pauraque, and Common Potoo.

 

Where to stay to enjoy birdwatching in the Iguazu Falls area?

Well, no doubt, Yacutinga Lodge is a wonderful place where you can stay to enjoy birds in the area. Yacutinga Lodge is nested in the heart of the Iguazu Jungle, just 2 hours from Port Iguazu and the main access to the Iguazu Falls. The lodge offers many programs to choose, and specific for bird lovers.
Yacutinga programs include the transportation from Puerto Iguazu to Yacutinga Reserve and return.

Birdwatching program

Please check the following program that Yacutinga and RipioTurismo prepared for bird lovers. We can combine the following itinerary with the visit to Iguazu Falls, before or after your birdwatching program. Just email me, info@ripioturismo.com I´m ready to help you:

 

Day by day itinerary

DAY 1 – Puerto Iguazú (Raices Argentinas) / Yacutinga Lodge
2:30 p.m Departure from Puerto Iguazu- Raices Argentinas through the Iguassu National Park. The landscape is very picturesque , characterized by its reddish soil, the various shades of greens , the colonist and their Yerba Mate farms.

Arrival at the Lodge, welcome and room distribution. At sunset, observation walk in the Lodge nearby area. After dinner, we will make a night walk in search of owls and nightjars

DAY 2 – Yacutinga Lodge
Observation walk along the Refuge main road and its central marsh.
Lunch back at the Lodge.
In the afternoon we will go along the Guazú trail, and through the forest
for several kilometers. Dinner.

DAY 3 – Yacutinga Lodge
Full day birding at the west side of the Yacutinga Reserve, swampy areas, tall forest, and grasslands are some of the ambiences we will explore. Lunch-box.
In the afternoon we will navigate down the upper Iguazú river and one of its tributaries, the San Francisco stream. By the end of the afternoon we will walk the Tapir trail from East to West and enjoy at dusk the central marsh.
Back to the Lodge on the main road for nightjars and owls. Dinner.

DAY 4 – Yacutinga Lodge
In the morning we will make observations along with Chico Méndez and Timbo trails. Lunch at the Lodge.
In the afternoon we will walk along Pastura trail to get to the marsh area at sunset.
Return to the Lodge. Dinner. Owling

DAY 5 – Yacutinga Lodge / Puerto lguazu
Early in the morning, we will make our last observation walk along Tacuara trail. After that, we will pack.
Approximately at 10.00 a.m., we will start our return trip to Puerto Iguazu.
Arrival at Puerto Iguazú estimated at 1.00 p.m.

Please note that the described itinerary may vary due to bird activity and climate.

 

From here, we can pick you up and organize your visit to the Iguazu Falls, or we can do that before the birdwatching program. Interesting isn´t it? Ok, email me, I´m ready to help you to organize your next visit to the Iguazu Falls area, and enjoy bird´s of the jungle

Thanks to Yacutinga Lodge for the photos and information

Ramiro Rodriguez
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