The Cordoba Hills, Argentina 2003-04

Published by Surfbirds Admin (surfbirds AT

Participants: Sergio Corbet


Cordoba Hills, Argentina

by Sergio Corbet

Many birders are lured to Argentina by the distant and mysterious place of Patagonia. Birders attention is also drawn by the birds found in the central plains known as the Pampas as well as those found in the northeastern humid subtropical rainforests at Iguazu. Yet the country has several other areas worthy of visit where very rewarding birding with new and different bird species can be found. One of these areas, with very accessible roads and tourist minded is the province of Cordoba with much of its natural scenery still unspoilt and sheltering a wide array of bird species that partly belong to the Chaco area, others to the Andes Cordillera and some even to the Pampas Plains.

This large province in central Argentina in its northwest has a series of hills known as the Cordoba Hills with the highest peak, the Cerro Champaqui 2,790 m (over 8,000 ft.) high. The hills border the very southern tip of the Chaco Plains and the emerging fertile Pampas Plains. The Chaco Plains come rolling down south from the Mato Grosso Plateau in Brazil through Paraguay and into Argentina. In their northern part they are covered by woods, then by savannahs, low bushes and brush. Once in Cordoba they become grass covered and to the south are known as the Pampas, fertile plains that end in northern Patagonia.

Cordoba Hills

The general scenery found in the hills is that of intermediate height mountains with valleys and small plateau and plains often used for cattle grazing and farming. Most of the slopes are covered by low bushes and small trees and in most valleys small rivers and brooks with crystal clear running water are common. Generally rains fall during the late spring and summer season thus giving the hills a verdant green cover where many species of birds live, thrive and nest. Best birding results are obtained from the months of November through to February prior to many species winter migration.

Not far from Cordoba city and slightly to its southwest in the Cordoba Hills, the Condorito National Park is found - the prize bird is the Condor. This National Park is surrounded by several large private estates in some of which birders can find excellent boarding premises. Birding in the hills offers elusive Red-legged Seriema, the Red-tailed Comet, the Andean Swift (an endemic) as is the Cordoba Cinclodes, the Black-backed Grosbeak and still many others - with the majestic Condor soaring above them all.

While birding at La Granadilla close to San Clemente, a little village in the Cordoba Hills, I recorded the following species list:

Summer list of birds at the Cordoba Hills

1 Spotted Nothura, Nothura maculosa; 2 Snowy Egret, Egretta thula; 3 Buff-necked Ibis, Theresticus caudatus; 4 Speckled Teal, Anas flavirostris; 5 Black Vulture, Coragyps atratus; 6 Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura; 7 Andean Condor, Vultur gryphus; 8 Southern Caracara, Caracara plancus; 9 Chimango Caracara, Milvago chimango; 10 American Kestrel, Falco sparverius; 11 Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus; 12 Plumbeous Rail, Pardirallus sanguinolentus; 13 Southern Lapwing, Vanellus chilensis; 14 Rock Pigeon, Columba livia; 15 Picazuro Pigeon, Columba picazuro; 16 Spot-winged Pigeon, Columba maculosa; 17 Eared Dove, Zenaida auriculata; 18 Picui Ground Dove, Columbina picui; 19 White-tipped Dove, Leptotila verreauxi; 20 Monk Parakeet, Myiopsitta monachus; 21 Guira Cuckoo, Guira guira; 22 Striped Cuckoo, Tapera naevia; 23 Tropical Screech Owl, Otus choliba; 24 Burrowing Owl, Athene cunicularia; 25 Rothchilds Swift, Cypseloides rothshildi; 26 Andean Swift, Aeronautes andecolus; 27 Glittering-bellied Emerald, Chlorostilbon aureoventris; 28 Red-tailed Comet, Sappho sparganura; 29 White Woodpecker, Melanerpes candilus; 30 Green-barred Woodpecker, Colaptes melanochloros; 31 Field Flicker, Colaptes campestris; 32 Cordoba Cinclodes, Cinclodes comechingonus; 33 Rufous Hornero, Furnarius rufus; 34 Crested Hornero, Furnarius cristatus; 35 Yellow-chinned Spinetail, Certhiaxis cinnamomea; 36 Stripe-crowned Spinetail, Cranioleuca pyrrophia; 37 Scimitar-billed Woodcreeper, Drymornis bridgesii; 38 Short-billed Canastero, Asthenes baeri; 39 Lark-like Brushrunner, Coryphistera alaudina; 40 Brown Cacholote, Pseudoseisura lophotes; 41 Large Elaenia, Elaenia spectabilis; 42 Small-billed Elaenia, Elaenia parvirostris; 43 Grey-crowned Tyrannulet, Serpophaga griseiceps; 44 Vermilion Flycatcher; Pyrocephalus rubinus; 45 Black-crowned Monjita, Xolmis coronata; 46 White Monjita, Xolmis irupero; 47 Spectacled Tyrant, Hymenops perspicillata; 48 Cattle Tyrant, Machetornis rixosus; 49 Tropical Kingbird, Tyrannus melancholicus; 50 Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Tyrannus savanna; 51 Crowned Slaty-flycatcher, Griseotyrannus aurantioatrocristatus; 52 Great Kiskadee, Pitangus sulphuratus; 53 Crested Becard, Pachyramphus validus; 54 Southern Martin, Progne modesta; 55 White-rumped Swallow, Tacycineta leucorrhoa; 56 Sand Martin, Riparia riparia; 57 White-tipped Plantcutter, Phytotoma rutila; 58 House Wren, Troglodytes aedon; 59 Masked Gnatcatcher, Polioptila dumicola; 60 Chiguanco Thrush, Turdus chiguanco; 61 Andean Slaty Thrush, Turdus nigriceps; 62 Rufous-bellied Thrush, Turdus rufiventris; 63 Creamy-bellied Thrush, Turdus amauorochalinus; 64 Chalk-browed Mockingbird, Mimus saturninus; 65 White-banded Mockingbird, Mimus triurus; 66 Brown-capped Whitestart, Myioborus brunniceps; 67 Hepatic Tanager, Piranga flavia; 68 Sayaca Tanager, Thraupis sayaca; 69 Great Pampa Finch, Embernagra platensis; 70 Saffron Yellow-Finch, Sicalis flaveola; 71 Grassland Yellow-Finch, Sicalis luteola; 72 Black-capped Warbling-Finch, Poospiza melanoleuca; 73 Black-and-rufous Warbling-Finch, Poospiza nigrorufa; 74 Rufous-collared Sparrow, Zonotrichia capensis; 75 Greyish Saltator, Saltator coerulescens; 76 Golden-billed Saltator, Saltator aurantiirostris; 77 Ultramarine Grosbeak, Passerina brissonii; 78 Baywing, Agelaioides badius; 79 Shiny Cowbird, Molothrus bonariensis; 80 Screaming Cowbird, Molothrus rufoaxillaris; 81 Long-tailed Meadowlark, Sturnella loyca; 82 Hooded Siskin, Carduelis magellanica; 83 House Sparrow, Passer domesticus;