If you want to get within touching distance to an abundance of wildlife and in particular birds, then jump in a car to RAF Brize Norton and get on the first possible plane departing for the British Overseas Territory of the Falkland Islands. Whilst it’s not teeming with vast quantities of different bird species, it houses some beauts and gives you unparalleled access to some rarities including the Blackish Cinclodes and stunning yet cheeky, Striated Caracara.
Flying into Mount Pleasant, you’ll transfer to Stanley as a base, and a must take trip (and what a trip it is!) is to Volunteer Beach which has one of the northernmost colonies of King Penguins in the world. A variety of waders, geese, gulls and two other types of penguins are found there too.
Away from the main islands you have a variety of smaller islands to travel to. The ‘musts’ amongst them have to be Sea Lion Island to the south and Saunders Island to the north-west which houses the largest colony in the world of Black-browed Albatross, and is the perfect place to sit down and watch the Rockhoppers’ in all their elegance in the water and observing what characters they become when they hop out.
The whole experience is made easy and enjoyable with the help of the islanders themselves, traveling around the islands with FIGAS is hugely entertaining. Most people know their fair share about birds too and who can blame them with this ‘wildlife paradise’ on their own doorstep.
Number of Species
Number of bird species: 230
As at November 2016
Number of endemics: 1
Falkland Steamerduck Tachyeres brachypterus
Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
Bird Song in the Antarctic, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands
Mandarin Productions 2006
ISBN: 161465Buy this book from NHBS.com
Birds & Mammals of the Antarctic, Subantarctic & Falkland Islands
by Frank Todd Ibis 2004
ISBN: 0934797226Buy this book from NHBS.com
Important Bird Areas of the Falkland Islands
Falklands Conservation 160 pages, colour photos, distribution maps, tables. Falklands Conservation 2006
ISBN: 0953837165Buy this book from NHBS.com
Where to Watch Birds in South America
Nigel Wheatley Paperback - 336 pages (27 October, 1994) Christopher Helm
ISBN: 0713639091Buy this book from NHBS.com
Atlas of Breeding Birds
The Atlas is based on records from about 160 observers who sent reports equivalent to more than 550 Breeding Birds Survey forms over a period of ten breeding seasons between 1983/84 and 1992/93. About 80 observers (51%) were Falkland Islanders or contract workers, 47 (30%) were military personnel and 29 (19%) were visitors to the Falklands. The results are substantial, considering that this country of 12,200 square kilometres (4,700 square miles); with land in 255 10km grid squares, has a small permanent human population of only about 2,200.
Guides & Tour Operators
Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…
Focus Nature Wildlife Tours
Wildlife holidays to the Falkland Islands offer exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities. The combination of large seabird and mammal colonies and their relatively good tolerance of human presence affords superb opportunities for intimate encounters and photographs….
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.
2009 [January] - Tim Earl
…Bird of the trip was King Penguin closely followed by Black-browed Albatross. Wandering Albatross and Rockhopper Penguin came third, equally, with Black-crowned Night Heron, Sedge Wren, South American Snipe, Blackish Cinclodes (Tussockbird), Snowy Sheathbill and Long-tailed Meadowlark as close contenders…
2009 [November] - Dave Farrow
The following morning we found ourselves close inshore at Westpoint Island, where we dropped anchor and went ashore in the zodiacs for the first time. We trekked over the island to view the colony of Black-browed Albatrosses, calmly sitting on their curious nests as cute Rockhopper Penguins filled in the gaps, or lurked in the tussock grass. Some other splendid birds were also available here, such as Upland and Kelp Geese, a single Ruddy-headed Goose, the endemic Falkland Steamer Ducks, Speckled Teal, Variable Hawk, cheeky Striated Caracaras and wheatear-like Dark- faced Ground Tyrants…
2013 [January] - Michael Tanis - Argentina, Falkland Islands, and Chile
…We arrived to the Falklands at daybreak. As we moved slowing into the bay, we were surrounded by rocky peninsulas vegetated with grasses and small shrubs. There were Sooty Shearwaters and Imperial and Rock Cormorants flying around, but also penguins (Magellanic I guessed) swimming in the bays as we slowly made our way toward Stanley. With binoculars we could make out many Magellanic Penguins on shore by their burrows or waddling down to the water….
2014 [April] - Simon Cook
The long journey to Tristan da Cunha via Stanley, Falkland Islands* (Cattle Egret, Magellanic Penguin, Turkey Vulture, Southern Caracara and Variable Hawk) brought many more seabirds, including our first Sooty, Atlantic Yellow-nosed and Tristan Albatrosses, Great, Sooty and Sub-Antarctic Little Shearwaters, Slenderbilled Prion, Atlantic, Soft-plumaged, Grey, Spectacled and Great-winged Petrels, Broad-billed Prion, South Polar Skua, White-faced and White-bellied Storm-Petrels plus Long-tailed Skua. Marine mammals included Hourglass, Dusky and Peale’s Dolphins...
2014 [December] - Kristian Stahl & Roger Holmberg
A since long planned trip to the Antarctic finally starts. We are all in all eight Swedes from various parts of the country who decided to make this trip. Due to private reasons, one of the original eight did not participate. Roger and myself start the trip to Ushuaia...
2014 [January] - Andrew Whittaker - Antarctica, South Georgia & Falklands
Our 2014 cruise to our planet’s final frontier, Antarctica, was absolutely outstanding! I was thrilled to return to this magical continent and two spectacular islands (after almost 20 years). Topping this, though, was being able to share this mind-boggling experience with a fantastic group of people....
2014 [March] - Starling Reizen
2015 [February] - Andrew Spencer - The Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica
2016 [12 December] - Dušan Brinkhuizen - The Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctica
Rockjumper’s Classic Antarctica I adventure started in the scenic harbour of Ushuaia, the southernmost town of Argentina. In the afternoon, we boarded the impressive Akademik Ioffe, a Russian research vessel that became our home for the next 19 days. The lifelong dream to visit the continent of Antarctica, the world’s largest unspoilt wilderness area, was soon to become reality!
2017 [01 January] - Brian Gibbons - Antarctica, South Georgia & The Falklands
... The Falklands and South Georgia provided unrivaled wildlife spectacles only after we enjoyed fantastic pelagic birding and a few cetaceans along the way. Elephant Seals, thousands of penguins, Shag Rocks, and point-blank views of Black-browed Albatross nesting colonies were some of the highlights burned into our memories as we navigated these remote islands...
Environmental Research Unit
The Falkland Islands hold the majority of the world populations of Black-browed Albatross, Striated Caracara, Ruddy-headed Goose and Flightless Steamer Duck, but the Falklands are best known for their penguins, with five breeding species and over a million penguins in total. Unfortunately Falkland penguins have declined by around 90% over recent years and are in urgent need of protection.
Falklands Conservation monitors and protects the exceptional wildlife heritage of the Falkland Islands. The Islands are one of the last great wilderness sites on Earth and form a unique bridge between the Antarctic and South American continent. We have offices in Stanley, Falkland Islands and London, England.
Birds & Seals of the Falkland Islands
The Falklands is a haven for penguins, seabirds, seals, sealions and other wildlife. Indeed the Falkland Islands holds the majority of the world population of Black-browed Albatross, Striated Caracara, Ruddy-headed Goose and Flightless Steamer Duck. But the Falklands are best known for their penguins, with five breeding species and over a million penguins in total. That is a lot of penguins, but Falklands penguins numbered over 6 million in 1984…
Falkland Island Sedge Wren Cistothorus platensis
Falkland Island Sedge Wrens (Cistothorus platensis) imitate rather than improvise large song repertoires…
Checklists of Birds, Mammals, Freshwater Fish and Plants…