Oriental Republic of Uruguay

Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis ©Adam Riley Website
Birding Uruguay

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’.

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 448

    (As at May 2019)

  • Checklist

    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) | By Adrián B Azpiroz | Adrián B Azpiroz | 2003 | Paperback | 104 pages, colour photos, distribution maps | Spanish | ISBN: 9789974393295 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Birds in Uruguay and Worldwide Distribution

    | By Alejandro Olmos | Biophoto | 2010 | Paperback | 520 pages, Colour photos throughout | English & Spanish | ISBN: 9789974968950 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Birds of Argentina and Uruguay

    | (A Field Guide) | By Tito Narosky & Darío Yzurieta | Vazquez Mazzini Editores | 2011 \ Edition 16 | 432 pages, colour photos, colour illustrations, colour distribution maps | English & Spanish | ISBN: 9789879132272 Buy this book from NHBS.com
Useful Information
  • Grupo Uruguayo para el Estudio y la Conservacion de las Aves

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

    Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis
Museums & Universities
  • Universidad de la Rep

    The zoology department of the national university
  • Grupo Guayubira

    An organisation encouraging conservation of the rain forest etc. El grupo Guayubira, Grupo Ambientalista sobre Montes y Forestaci
  • Grupo Uruguayo para el Estudio y la Concervacion de las Aves (GUPECA)

    Facebook Page
    Grupo Uruguayo para el Estudio y la Concervacion de las Aves (GUPECA) [Casilla de Correo 6955, Montevideo, Uruguay] Es una organizaci
  • Probides

    Facebook Page
    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

  • NP Santa Teresa

    InformationSatellite View
    It is located in the Atlantic coast southeast of Route 9 at the northeast side of Laguna Negra and just north of Punta del Diablo. The area is supervised and maintained by the armed forces.
  • NP WII Esteros de Farrapos

    InformationSatellite View
    Includes 24 islands, covering 174.96 km2. Classified under the Ramsar Convention as a Wetland of International Significance.[
  • NR Arboretum Lussich

    InformationSatellite 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….
  • NR Laguna de Rocha

    WebsiteSatellite 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…
  • WII Ramsar Stes

    WebpageSatellite View
    Uruguay currently has 3 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 435,837 hectares...
Forums & Mailing Lists
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Birding With Me

    Tour Operator
    Birding With Me invites you to meet the birds of Uruguay, a country whose Guarani name means "River Of Colorful Birds". This territory has a vast richness of birds as a result of a great diversity of environments. Birdwatching in Uruguay is enjoyable and productive; this country is home to 50 percent of the birds of Argentina and 25 percent of the birds of Brazil, and they can be seen in short distances and in a short time.
Trip Reports

Click on WAND to see Fatbirder’s Trip Report Repository…

  • 2017 [10 October] - Niels Bomholt

    PDF Report
    Illustrated list
  • 2018 [01 January] - Håkan Thorstensson

    PDF Report
    We also wanted to stay at an estancia and after some searching on the internet, we found a nice-looking one in Uruguay. Punta del Este was regarded a must visit, and adding a couple of areas along the Atlantic coast completed the itinerary.
  • 2019 [02 February] - Håkan Thorstensson

    PDF Report
    In Uruguay, we chose to stay at another estancia than in 2018, adding the towns of Chuy, for easy access to the wetlands, and Piriapolis, for beaching, and also returning to the wonderful Posada de San Antonio. Birdwise, aiming for some regional specialties, we also booked a guided half day at PN Pantanos, formerly known as Reserva Natural Otamendi. Hopefully you will find this report useful, keeping in mind this was not a hardcore birding trip
Other Links
  • Aves de Uruguay

    Protection and conservation of the birds of Uruguay
  • Aves del Uruguay

    Facebook Page
    An on line ornithology manual
  • Projeto Cardeal-Amarelo

    Ecology and conservation of the critically endangered Yellow cardinal
  • Yellow Cardinal Project

    Ecology and conservation of the critically endangered Yellow cardinal

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