Image of the Month June 2023: Magellanic Woodpecker

Photographer: Glen Valentine   Destination: Chile

An adventure through the austral temperate forests of Chile and Argentina could reveal one of the most awe-inspiring Woodpecker species in the Neotropics, the Magellanic Woodpecker. Although sporting a simple, yet elegant colour pattern, their large size and colour give a hint to the appearance of the extinct or nearly extinct Imperial and Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, particularly the female Magellanic Woodpecker with her curly, expressive crest. This species’ loud double drum reverberates through its habitat of the moss-laden old-growth forests in both Argentina and Chile.

They can be found in pairs or small family groups as they cross large extensions of forest to feed.  While their expansive home-range renders spotting these enchanting creatures a challenge, the reward is worth the pursuit. Especially when that pursuit takes place against the backdrop of Chile and Argentina's awe-inspiring landscapes.

Strategically situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes, Chile's geography - a 4,250 km long narrow ribbon of land - is as diverse as it gets. From the arid Atacama Desert in the north to the windswept cliffs of Cape Horn in the far south, Chile's diversity extends to its vibrant birdlife and wildlife. The birding prospects are exceptionally rich, from soaring Andean Condors to the dainty Chilean Woodstar, the highlights here span the gamut of the avian world. Endemic species like Chilean tapaculos, known as huet-huets and turcas, the Rufous-legged Owl, White-throated Treerunner, Grey-breasted Seedsnipe, and the aptly named Giant Hummingbird, are sure to provide constant entertainment! The wildlife here is not to be ignored either with Chile’s magnificent Torres del Paine National Park being one of the best places on earth to find the mighty Puma. 

Argentina, too, offers an excellent selection of species and stunning vistas. For example, Southern Patagonia alone could provide the rare White-bellied Seedsnipe of northern Tierra del Fuego, Bronze-winged Duck and Rufous-tailed Plantcutter, while also sharing the Magellanic Plover and Woodpecker with Chile. 

Join us on one of our exciting Argentina and Chile tour offerings below, we will certainly enjoy the best birding that these regions have to offer as well as breath-taking scenery, comfortable accommodation and warm hospitality, all paired perfectly with great food and exceptional wine.